What is the main theme of "Sohrab and Rustum"?I'm having trouble finding the main theme.

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a couple of themes that the story "Sohrab and Rustum" addresses.  First, the legend certainly discusses the irony of life.  For much of his adult life Rustum seeks his long-lost son Sohrab, and just as he finds him, he discovers that he has fatally wounded Sohrab. While this type of situational irony plays a key role in many legends and other forms of fiction, reality also offers its own coincidences.

Secondly, the tale portrays the effects of pride and anger.  If Rustum had not been so concerned with his reputation as a warrior and so controlled by his pride and rage, he might not have engaged in such a bloody fight with the other warrior who turns out to be Sohrab.  But, as many fables and tales teach, pride often leads to destruction, and in this case, it results in the unhappy ending to Rustum's one quest in life--finding his son.

rareynolds eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the themes of the poem is clearly pride. Rustum is known as an invincible warrior; when he decides to fight Sohrab, he orders that he be clad in plain armor so that his opponent might not know his true identity. He thinks that if his opponent knew who he was fighting, he would be too scared and decide not to fight. Ironically, Rustum is exactly the person Sohrab is looking for; Sohrab's whole purpose in demanding the combat is to make himself known to Rustum, his father. During the climax of the fight, Rustum reveals his identity, and Sohrab is surprised; in that moment, Rustum takes advantage of Sohrab's distraction and kills him, learning afterwards about Sohrab's identity. Rustum's desire for victory and personal glory cost him the life of his son.

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