Four levels of Astyages’ Revenge

i) Literal Comprehension:

Cyaxares dies after ruining the country for forty years. Then, his son Astyages becomes a king who has a daughter named Mandane. One night Astyages sees in a dream that Mandane’s urine floods whole Asia. He becomes worried so goes to Magi people; dream interpreters to ask for help who advise him to send away his daughter. When Mandane is of age he marries her off to Cambyses, a Persian; someone who is of a lower class than of Medes, Astyages sees a dream where a vine grows from his daughter’s privy parts and shadows the whole Asia. He asks Magi people about the dream, for which they reply that the child given birth by Mandane will be the next king. Since Astyages can’t let someone from lower caste rule over them, he calls Mandane at the palace during pregnancy and orders his faithful commander Harpagus to kill the child; as it was born.

Harpagus used his brain since if this child dies by his hand, Mandane will rule the country and his future doesn’t seem bright. So he asks the king’s another servant, Mitra dates the shepherd to kill him by keeping him in the middle of a vast jungle. But, Mitra dates take the child back home and swaps the child with his own which has just died at birth and shows it to Harpagus. When the child turns 10 years old game, all the children of the village choose him to be their king for the game.

So he does his tasks as a king and when on the kid doesn’t follow his order, he punishes him. The kid happens to be Artembares’ son who is near to the royals so the complaint goes to the king’s palace. When asked by the king why he did so, Cyrus confidently answers and says if what he did was wrong, he can punish him. Asparagus’ sees his own reflection of himself as a kid on Cyrus. So he calls Mitradates and inquires about the child, then finds out that the child is his grandson. He calls Harpagus to explain, the situation, for which he tells the truth. The kind becomes furious but calmly thanks Harpagus for saving his grandchild. Then ask him to send his son who is the same age as Cyrus to be his friend and for him also to come for dinner. When Harpagus’s son comes for dinner, Astyages kill that boy takes out the flesh and feeds Harpagus. Later on, when Harpagus finds about this after dinner he becomes stunned goes back home and cries.

King again goes to Magi people asking for guidance, they suggest him to send Cyrus to Persia to his real parents and that’s what he does. On the way there, Cyrus finds out all about him and becomes very happy meeting with his real parents and so are they. Harpagus’ still feels pain seeing Cyrus as his son would be of the same age and still waits for a chance to get revenge on Astyages, he wishes that Cyrus will come out for revenge but there doesn’t seem to be any sound of that.

ii) Interpretation:

This story ‘Astyages’ Revenge ‘ might be telling us that rulers will do anything to maintain their power and to make sure that on the top of the hierarchy. Politics seem to regard neither blood nor relation. We can easily interpret that power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It might be also telling us whatever the circumstances people may be born at, children are innocent about it, they deserve a chance to see and live in this beautiful world.

iii) Critical thinking:

The story ‘Astyages’ Revenge ‘ has been amazingly explained by the writer but there are still some questions.

  • Can some father be so merciless to kill his own daughter’s child? So that he can protect his child pride of not being ruled by some lower-class people.
  • Why are people as cowards as Harpagus, who accept anything the king, does? Isn’t the throne, Mandane’s birthright as the only heir?
  • One day or another, Mandane’s child would have sat on the throne, so I don’t think there was the necessity of doing all this by Astyages?

iv) Assimilation:

Though this was the story of a very long time ago some of the points are still relatable. People with high power still do stuff that is suitable, favorable and in the advantage of them. And they’ll do everything in the books to hold the power rather than giving it to someone else who is more eligible for that. And to get what they want people don’t hesitate to use unfair means too.