Saturday, April 27, 2013

The immortal romance between Abraham and his foreign wife Hagar is one of the great overlooked tragedies of literary history. Historically speaking, this love triangle and the injustice to the soul of proud Hagar can be said to remain at the root of the conflict in the Middle East to this very day. The passion between Abraham and the former princess who comes into his house as a slave-girl and co-wife who gives birth to his firstborn son ignites jealousy in Abraham's wife Sarah, who sees to it that Hagar is ousted from the tent. Some Islamic scholars emphasize the fact that it was Ishmael and not Isaac who would by rights have been Abraham's firstborn and therefore his legitimate heir, had it not been for Hagar's eviction from the tent.

The screenplay differs from the source text - the Old Testament - in that we explore the subtleties of the love triangle more deeply to reveal the cruel machinations of female rivalry at the root of the injustice that has been fuelling conflict between the two legacies ever since. We see that it is domestic conflict, Sarah's unhappiness with Hagar as a domestic servant and Hagar's lack of desire to serve her lover's wife in such a subservient role, that drives the rage culminating in the spectre of the eviction into the desert. Abraham is seen standing on the edge of the desert peering into the distance, with tears in his eyes: ''Hagar, Hagar, why did you desert me?"


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