Angry-faced woman

Purim, as it Relates to Writing

What can we learn from Vashti?

In honor of Purim this year, I’d like to take a moment to discuss the book of Esther.      Angry-faced woman

However, rather than focusing on Esther, the protagonist, I’d like to think about one of the story’s antagonists, Vashti.

In many of the Purim plays I’ve seen and directed, Vashti is portrayed as a wicked character.  

If you take a look at many Purim costumes or caricature drawings, you will see Vashti portrayed with sharp, black eyebrows and a dark royal dress with a jagged collar. Once, I saw a drawing of Vashti with a devil’s tail.

But, what if we stop to think about it? What was the real reason Vashti was banished from the kingdom? 

She stood up for herself. She dared to say, “no” to the king’s orders, in a time when women were not allowed to speak until spoken to. In a time when women were not allowed to refuse that which was asked of them.

The story opens with King Achashverosh throwing a feast for his friends and calling Vashti to appear in all of her beauty (naked) in front of the king and his men.

Vashti has had it with being humiliated all these years (what a backstory!) and, knowing full well of the outcome, decides to refuse the king’s orders nonetheless.

Talk about a modern woman before her time. She started the #MeToo movement in 486 BCE, in Persia!

For that, she was banished from the kingdom and was disparaged in the Purim story for all of eternity.

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