Sinuhe And The Tale Of The Eloquent Peasant Analysis

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While no evidence exists demonstrating that Sinuhe from The Story of Sinuhe is an actual person and while The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant is clearly fiction, both works of Egyptian literature are rooted in some form of historical fact in that they were likely written by Egyptian elite and, therefore, they can give us important insights into Egyptian social life, how Egyptians viewed their society and the greater world, and how different classes in Egypt might have interacted. Namely, both pieces serve as obvious propaganda pieces for the Egyptian pharaoh –highlighting the relationship between the king and the lower tiers of society and setting up defined traits for how the pharaoh was supposed to be perceived in Egyptian society. However, …show more content…
Additionally, beyond reflecting the internal social structure of Egyptian society, The Story of Sinuhe specifically hints towards how the Egyptians viewed foreigners and foreign lands during the Middle Kingdom. Beyond the insights previously mentioned, both stories also give us striking, if vague, insight into Egyptian religion and its complex role in society along with the interaction between the divine and the pharaoh. Perhaps the most evident insight into Middle Egyptian society the stories give us is the glorified way the Egyptian pharaoh is presented. In Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, despite the peasant’s frustration, heaps of praise are given unto the pharaoh. Admiration for the king is also expressed within The Story of Sinuhe primarily through Semwosret I’s mercy. However, where the two differ is the genuine nature of the king’s kindness. Whereas Semwosret’s mercy comes off as genuine, the steward in The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant seems to almost trivialize Khunanup’s pleading – making the glorified image the pharaoh is presented in seem more malevolent. This is further supported by Khunanup’s dialogue against internal corruption and the government’s initial clear disregard for his plight …show more content…
The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant deeply treads on the concept of Ma’at – the Egyptian concept of truth, order, and justice personified by the goddess Ma’at. The concept of Ma’at is critical to Egyptian society for two primary reasons – it further serves to strengthen the rule of the king and provides guidance for everyday Egyptians and, to a lesser extent, the pharaohs, on how to behave properly to achieve order and cosmic harmony. Therefore, the story of the peasant serves a twofold purpose – as a moral tale which advocates for and ultimately achieves societal harmony and as a religious appeal to the pharaoh’s authority. The Story of Sinuhe concerns religion to a significantly higher degree but is distinct in its subtlety. While offering similar praise to the king for his ultimate mercy, the more critical aspect of the story involves that of divine providence and its connection to the Egyptian pharaoh. Even when Sinuhe does wrong by being cowardly and fleeing Egypt, the concept of divine grace manifests itself in both the rescue by the Bedouin chief in the desert and through his adoption by the Syro-Canaan chief. A particularly telling quote is “When one considers how innately tied the Egyptian pharaoh is to the divine, this not only serves, yet again, as a propagandistic piece for the pharaoh but it additionally projects the divinity and ultimate authority of the

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