Mirza-zadeh Eshghi, a scion of a family with constitutionalist leanings, was born in 1894, in Hamedan. Influenced by his family and by the intellectual climate of his native city, the young Mirza-zadeh Eshghi became a constitutionalist himself, while the Western-style education which he received at the Alliance School of Hamedan, brought out modernist and reformist tendencies in his literary works.
Following the suppression of Muhammad Ali Shah Qajar’s coup d’état (1907 – 1909), new political currents, often contrary to the ideals and principles of the Constitutional Revolution, began to gain ground. These tendencies were often discussed by Asar-e Enghelab and Jamaliyyeh, two local social-democratic periodicals, which showed a growing awareness of this drifting apart from the spirit of the Constitutional Revolution. Mirza-zadeh Eshghi, who shared these concerns, decided to write a play about the failure of the revolution. In 1915 he wrote Jamshid-e Nakam (Unsuccessful Jamshid), whose central character, Jamshid, represented the new social class which had arisen in Iran, and which was far removed from the ideals and aspirations of the constitutionalists. In 1919 Mirza-zadeh Eshghi decided to stage the play in Tehra, but was prevented from doing so by the police, who also confiscated the script. In 1924, three years into the reign of Reza Shah, and ten years after writing Jamshid e Nakam, having witnessed political and social transformations in Iran over a decade, Mirza-zadeh Eshghi realised that the Constitutional Revolution had run its course. He decided to write a new play entitled Se Tableau Maryam (Maryam: Three Portraits), whose central character, Maryam--a symbol of the Constitutional Revolution-- is assaulted and dies.
While Se Tableau Maryam has been published many times in Iran, very little was known about the first play (Jamshid e Nakam), which was presumed lost. In 2004, while carrying out research in the archives of the Sazman-e Asnad-e Milli in Tehran, I found a sealed envelope among the documents of the Tehran Police, dating to the Qajar period. On opening the envelope, I discovered, nearly ninety years after it was written, the full text of Jamshid e Nakam. In 2006, I published Jamshid e Nakam along with the other works of Mirza-zadeh Eshghi.
The present paper analyzes the two plays from a literary and social point of view, and discussed their reception. It also addresses the question which play is more successful in representing the socio-political conditions of its time.