Persepolis, an autobiography of Marjane Satrapi’s, uses the manifestation of graphic novel to depict the Iranian revolution through her own eyes. Marjane’s experiences consist of wars, revolution, rebellion, culture clashes and social classes, which mostly derive from the Islamic Republic and the fundamentalists. The theme of religion in Persepolis displays the constraint of women’s freedom, propaganda of nationalism, and rationalization of persecutions.
Marjane depicts the influences of religion on the Iranian female under the Islamic Revolution. Marjane’s mom gets assaulted by two fundamentalists when her car breaks down. The fundamentalists said she deserves to be abused and thrown in the garbage because she does not wear her veil as other female Iranians do. Later on the television, a male host says all males lack of morality and get excited when they see female’s hair, therefore veiling protects women from all potential rapists. Furthermore, Guardians of the revolution arrest and punish women if they wear casual clothing in public, ranging from severe verbal reprimands and imprisonment, while Iranian men only need to obey relatively simple rules. The double standard interspersed by religion severely suppresses female’s freedom and rights.
The religion’s nationlist propaganda concludes in the youngsters’ indoctrination. The Islamic Revolution and unjust ruling of the King leads to the outbreak of rebellions and daily demonstration. However, Marjane adores the King and approves of the King’s sovereignty, indicating that the government and the king use propaganda in children’s textbooks to convince people of his divine power, which makes religion condones his tyranny. Moreover, the torture sessions which highlights the beating of the breast, serve the purpose to mold students into desired citizens who unyieldingly support the Islamic regime by instilling a sense of nationalism. In this panel, Marjane drew all students identical and arranges them regularly, shows how such propaganda make populaces malleable ideologically and behaviorally for the government.
The government also utilizes religion to justify persecution. Shahab tells Marjane that the government recruits poor children for the front and utilizes religion to lure and defraud their loyalty. Holding the conviction that they can enter paradise after becoming the martyrs in war, the children use flesh to fight against the explosion in minefields. Also, The Islamic Republic executes political prisoners who are the legitimate heirs of the revolution and who constituted the country’s intelligentsia if they don’t promise fidelity and loyalty. The government justifies their killing.
Organized religion harms the community in Persepolis. It shows negative portrayals of the Islamic Republic and fundamentalists by depicting its suppression of female, indoctrination through propaganda, and persecution of opponents. In Persepolis, religion no longer serves as people’s spiritual consolation, but a tool for authorities to control the populace and to subdue any disagreements.