The Egyptian Tale Of Two Brothers English Literature Essay
The story of “The Tale of Two Brothers” is full of themes of sexual dominance, deceit, and revenge whereby a fierce power struggle between sexes comes out clearly. When reading the story one discovers that the women in the story are shown to be powerful, although they use their power for the wrong reasons, evil aims. Men are also brought out painted as power; the only difference between their power and that of the women is that, men use their power for good purposes in the society. It is because of these good deeds by men that make them prevail over the women. This article seeks to analyze the relationship between the two brothers and how it is affected by wife of the elder brother (tour Egypt 2009).
In the story we are first introduced to the relationship between Anpu, the elder brother and his wife. The wife is introduced an evil figure, a woman who uses her powers to manipulate his husband to carry out her evil schemes. She makes sexual overtures towards Anpu’s brother, Beta, but when Beta refuses these advances, she is infuriated. She therefore goes a head to seek revenge against him. Being skillful in deception, she convinces Anpu to kill his brother. She lies by saying, “When your brother came to collect the seed, he found me sitting alone and said to me, come let’s spend an hour sleeping. You shall put on your wig, but I refused to obey him,” (tour Egypt 2010). She went ahead to allege that the younger brother became afraid and assaulted her to prevent her from reporting him to the elder brother. She therefore wanted the elder brother to kill his brother lest she killed herself. Here we see that Anpu’s wife uses her manipulative powers successfully for her own evil purposes. The wife has used her intellectual power to achieve her end results, but the husband uses his physical powers to assert his authority, to establish what is just. We see in the story that after discovering his wife’s evil ploy to have his brother killed, Anpu decides to kill his wife. He threw away her body to the dogs. Here the elder brother emerges as the victor not because he is the only one left standing at the moment, but because he has used his physical power to bring out justice to the evil in the society (tour Egypt 2009).
In this story the author has hinted at the fictional aspect of his work by introducing fable like elements, for instance the introduction of a talking bull, and most notably the giving of divine names to his human characters, Anpu and beta which represent Egyptian gods. This is a clear indication that the Egyptians viewed their Pharaoh as a god. This story can also be taken to be addressing disturbances that usually happen in royal households especially when they touch on issues of succession. The tale emphasizes the importance of the friendship between the two brothers, but at the same time demonstrates that the wife who was unfaithful, who had betrayed her husband’s love, was justified to die. The author has applied the principle of projective analysis, where an individual misperceives the outer world as a result of inner states. Just as in many other fairy tales where the hero or the heroin is sometimes punished, and the punishment is usually self inflicted, this tale shows that Beta who is supposed to be the hero, emasculates himself in a bid to avoid guilty. This is another example of projective inversion. After falling off with his brother, Beta sets of to a far of land; this represents not only exile but also a kind of death to Beta. While in his exile, beta undergoes several deaths at the hands of a wife that he was divinely given by the gods. He is eventually reborn from the same wife as the heir to the king’s throne which he takes up on the death of the king. Just as in the biblical narrative about Joseph and Pharaoh’s wife, the actions of a malicious and scared woman leads to the move of a young man, Beta, from his safe and secure abode into death and them rebirth into a higher societal stratum. The woman in both tales acts for negatives aims but ends in giving positive results. There are similarities that make the reader think that the authors may have borrowed from each other. Both men in the talks are young and handsome, they both live in a household with an older woman with her husband, both are approached by the older woman for sex, both refuse the advances because their conscience won’t allow them, the woman accuses both falsely, they are separated from the household into exile or death, and finally both men in these two tales return from their exiles to rule over the people (tour Egypt 2009).
This tale brings out the actions of the gods in the Egyptian society in those years. Beta and Anpu represent Egyptian gods that relate to mortuary realm. Anpu was the Egyptian mortuary god, he was responsible for the linking of the death from the earthly self to the spiritual or the next world especially kings. This is clearly brought out when Anpu leads to Beta leaving his home to another place. On other hand, Beta was an ancient Egyptian underworld god that represented the Horus or Osiris succession. In this tale, the dead Beta is becomes his own father through his wife mother, a concept that is held to be the proper succession to the kingship by the Egyptians where the actions of a woman, makes her the means of transformation that is needed. Those tales also paints a very negative picture of the ancient Egyptian queens who always tried to avert any challenge to the throne by their surviving relatives. We see this in the case of Beta, where through many attempts by the wife to kill him, he is finally reborn by herself as the heir to the throne (tour Egypt 2009).
This tale also represents the rite of passage in regard to Beta, the hero in this case. The young man is separated from his home of comfort by the destructive actions of his mother figure, his brother’s wife, and is forced to pass through a series of deaths and transformations to be reborn into a very high position in the society. This story puts our hero, Beta, into a no-win situation. This is because he will be destroyed if he accepts the advances from the woman, and he will still be destroyed if he does not accept the proposition. He is at risk of death no matter the choice he picks on, all this is because of the powerful female figure in the name of the brother’s wife. But when the episode is followed to its end, we see the young man returning in a transformed state, at a new societal level, with new knowledge and understanding of himself and those around him. This therefore forms the rites of passage into the society to the young man. The tale therefore brings out the beliefs and ideologies of the ancient Egyptians. The seemingly destructive female figure in reality brings about long term positive results that not only affect her male victim, but also all the people in the society. There is also the issue of family reunion where by the young brother returns to be the king, and then leaves the throne to his brother at his death. The Egyptian way of live is also strikingly clear, we are shown that the elder brother was working in the field with his younger brother, they were actually planting, and when the seed were over, he sent Beta to go collect some more, and that is when he met with the provocative wife. They were also cattle keepers, the author confirms this in the following lines, “…he would drive his cattle to let them graze in the fields while he followed behind his cattle” (tour Egypt 2009). What this show is that the Egyptians practiced farming as their economic activity. The political system of the ancient Egyptians is also brought out where we see that they were ruled by kings, they had kingdoms, monarchs where ascending to the throne was hereditary (tour Egypt 2009).
In this story the author has used the three characters, the two brothers and the wife to bring out the differences between male and female sexes that existed in the ancient Egypt and may be at present. Driven by lust, the woman manages to separate the two brothers that had lived happily together. But she does not go away scot free because she is killed by her husband on discovering her evil intentions. This shows that her evil plot does not succeed in the end because Beta, the younger brother comes back in another form to restore his relationship with his brother. He even gives him his throne, meaning there were not hurt feelings between them. This had a very vital lesson to the Egyptians in those years and also lessons can still be borrowed from it now.
Tour, Egypt. (2009). The Tale of the Two Brothers. Retrieved from: http://www.touregypt.net/taleoftwobrothers.htm
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