Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Sufism and Shakespeare: The Poetics of Personal and Political Transformation in Sa'dallah Wannus's Tuqus al-Isharat wa-l-Tahawwulat


Tuqus al-Isharat wa-l-Tahawwulat, one of the last major plays by the Syrian Sa'dallah Wannus, published in 1994, is one of the most innovative plays from the Arab world in the twentieth century. Based on a historical incident, it dramatizes the story of the fall of the Naqib of Damascus when he is arrested with his mistress Warda. The Naqib's enemy, the Mufti, saves him from disgrace by substituting the Naqib's wife, Mu'mina, for Warda, although Mu'mina leaves the Naqib and becomes a notorious prostitute. The play also overtly treats male homosexuality. Previous analyses of Wannus's plays have focused on the influence of Brecht and the Thousand and One Nights, and criticism of this play's feminist theme. This article argues that much of the play's novelty and aesthetic power derive from aspects of Shakespeare, principally Measure for Measure, and from motifs, lexicon and ritual theatricality derived from Sufism as aesthetic form and religious practice.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Roger Allen , ‘Arabic Drama in Theory and Practice: The Writings of Sa'dallah Wannus’, Journal of Arabic Literature, 15 (1984), pp. 94113, here p. 94

Mohja Kahf , ‘The Silences of Contemporary Syrian Literature’, World Literature Today, 75, 2 (Spring 2001), pp. 224–36

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Theatre Research International
  • ISSN: 0307-8833
  • EISSN: 1474-0672
  • URL: /core/journals/theatre-research-international
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 21 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 216 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 25th July 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.