Saturday, August 1, 2015

Persepolis Graphic Novel - Significance of Title (C.H.)

At some point I started to wonder if one of the two volumes would have an answer to what does the title really meant, at a first glance either of the volumes had a definite answer even in the chapter “Persepolis” of volume 1.

There are various clues throughout the graphic novel making references to the Old Persian city Pārsa, in the very first chapter Marji mentions an ancient religion Zoroastrianism whose founder was Zarathustra the first prophet from Persepolis who created the three rules: behave well, speak well and act well. Marji is also aware of old ceremonies such as the fire ceremony which is performed every full moon.

There is strong imagery on the grandeur of the Old Persian city, the Shah promised the people “I am the light of the Aryans. I will make this country the most modern of all time. Our people will regain THEIR SPLENDOR.[pg27]. The Shah went to visit the grave of Cyrus the Great to reassure him that he would properly look after modern Persia; The reaction of the people was “the population couldn’t have care less.”


In the second book we can see the drastic difference of how Iranians where treated before the Iranian Republic in the second volume of the book when Marji’s mother came to visit her, she recalls how just having an Iranian passport they would go as far as to roll the red carpet welcoming to any European country with relative ease, now Iranians have to go through everything “As Though we were all terrorists. They treat us as though we have the plague.”

In my opinion the title of the graphic novel was a way to illustrate the vast difference on ancient Iran, Persepolis considered to be one of the ancient world’s largest and most powerful empire, a prominent city covering a huge area in the middle which stretched for thousands of miles from the Mediterranean sea to Afghanistan[6C] on the other hand a stark comparison to modern day Iran a country ravaged by revolution, wars, revolution and corruption.

If you are interested in learning more about the ancient city of Parsa (Persepolis) I have found the following article which describes the many architectural and cultural elements embedded in the ruins of Persepolis Article Link

1 comment:

  1. I really like your interpretation of what the word means- especially since it's so close to it's root which means 'City of the Persians'. The power of a name is something that can be really transforming, either to preserve or to alter. Derek Alderman talks about the power of naming- an preview of his work can be found here: