The Beggar Essay

1310 Words Jan 4th, 2011 6 Pages
The Beggar
Naguib Mahfouz
Published in 1965.
The main character of this novel is Omar al-Hamzawi. He is a big, broad man, and 45 years of age. The book opens with him going to visit a doctor, who is one of his close friends from his youth. Omar describes his predicament to Mustapha al-Minyawi, the doctor, and we learn that he has become sick of life. Omar is a very successful lawyer, with a beautiful wife and two daughters. They are wealthy and live a relaxed life, though before Omar’s “illness,” he was a workaholic, but only because that’s what he loved doing. Now, however, Omar is lethargic and can’t find meaning or happiness in life. We then learn that in his youth Omar was a poet and a socialist. He gave up both in order to become a
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In an attempt to experience again the peace he felt by the pyramids, Omar goes off to live by himself in the countryside. He slips into delirium but still the calm he desires escapes him. After a year and a half Othman, who has got involved in politics again, turns up at the house escaping from the police, but Omar thinks he is an illusion. Omar is shot in the collarbone and wounded as the police catch Othman. Omar feels he is returning to the world as he is brought back to Cairo, with a last line of poetry reverberating in his head, “If you really wanted me, why did you desert me?”
The conflict of this novel is definitely man vs. self. Omar gets more depressed and helpless every day, until he tries to escape his illness, but that just turns him to delirium and causes him to hallucinate. The climax is when Othman appears at his hideout, running from the police, but Omar thinks him an illusion of the devil. Soon after the police capture him and Othman, and although Omar still is hallucinating, he starts to feel calm. The resolution is on the way back to Cairo, Omar calms and feels that he is “returning to the world”.
The setting of this novel is post-revolutionary Cairo during the time of Gamal Abdel Nasser. In the book Omar often goes to the pyramids with his lady friends. Although setting is important, it does not have a big impact on the story. It could have taken place in any city that has

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