Play Analysis "Shakuntala" By Kalidasa
A story of gods, nymphs, ancient Indian mythology, spells and love, the romantic comedy Shakuntala by Kalidasa is a timeless classic. Similar plots are still being used in plays, TV shows and movies today, over two thousand years later; man falls in love with girl, something happens that doesnt allow them to be together, another event happens that allows them to be together with a happy ending. Shakuntala tells the story of the protagonist, King Dushyanta, falling for a young woman named Shakuntala. Their love brings us on a journey that makes us laugh, cry tears of mirth and sorrow, and even blows us away by some of the beautiful imagery/poetry.
The play commences with King Dushyanta on a hunt, then finding himself in the presence of three women at an ashrama (sacred place). One of these women is Shakuntala, whom Dushyanta falls immediately in love with. Their mutual attraction eventually blossoms into a romance, but one day as Dushyanta is away, a hermit puts a curse on Shakuntala. She was too distracted by thoughts of Dushyanta to receive him as a guest, and so he cursed whoever/whatever she was thinking of. The curse caused Dushyanta forget all about Shakuntala. However, the hermit had a slight change of heart. Because Shakuntala was too busy thinking of Dushyanta, the hermit told her friends that if Dushyanta were presented with a meaningful object representing his relationship with Shakuntala, he would regain his memory of her. Unfortunately, as Shakuntala greeted Dushyanta once more, she discovered that he did not remember her. She remembered that he had given her a ring while they were together, but as she looked down to give it to him she realized it had slipped off her finger, probably while she was in the Ganges River. Shakuntala was then taken away by an invisible nymph up into the sky. Later on, a fisherman (who was taken prisoner for thievery) returned to the king the ring he had found and stolen from the Ganges. The king suddenly remembered everything about Shakuntala. He returned to the ashrama to discover that he now had a son born from Shakuntala. The climax is reached as Dushyanta and Shakuntala meet eyes once more with a powerful connection. They fall back in love with each other and are blessed with eternal happiness by Maricha the perfect. This story starts us off with the confrontation between Dushyanta and Shakuntala, then brings us to a moment of choice when Dushyanta is greeted by the seemingly unknown Shakuntala, and concludes with the lovers being...
Loading: Checking Spelling0%
Analysis ofthe play "Spring Awakening", by Frank Wedekind722 words - 3 pages Frank Wedekind's play Spring Awakening represents an adult's reflection on childhood, the repercussions of ignorance, and the consequence of inhibiting the spread of knowledge to those without it. Although very brief and lacking in extreme detail, this...
Analysis of the Play "EveryMan" by Anonymous Author1659 words - 7 pages Thesis: Everyman is English morality play written by an anonymous author in late fifteenth century. The play’s represent the values that Everyman holds on to by its characterization. The spiritual life of Everyman was neglected by him, but he is quickly repents of his sins as the play develops. After realizing Everyman is summoned by Death, he doesn’t want to die and die alone for that matter. Everyman soon realizes that when he is seeking for a...
Analysis on WWI source - the play "Journey's End" by R.C. Sherriff.891 words - 4 pages These excerpt are taken from the source I have chosen to evaluate, a 1929 play called "Journey's End". It was composed by a British author R.C. Sherriff who joined the war at age eighteen. He served as a captain in the East Surrey regiment from 1914 until the end of the war.This makes the play a first hand account, so it would be useful to historians studying the soldier's experience of trench warfare. Again, because Sheriff was...
The Subtle Art of Feminism1653 words - 7 pages Bapsi Sidhwa’s novel, Water, realistically presents the circumstances of women and, in particular, widows in 1938 Colonial India. It exposes the gender inequality and double standards that govern that society for no other reason than that is what tradition dictates. Sidhwa presents complexities in her characters, which make them very human and very real, and the widows’ reactions to each other and to the world outside of the ashram create a...
China during the periods 221bc to 220ad and 581ad to 907 ad.2014 words - 8 pages For two periods of approximately 400 years, spanning from 221 B.C. to 220 A.D. and 581 A.D. to 907 A.D., China developed into a full-fledged empire whose control was vast an impacting. These empires were established through force and were held in place by a complex form of leadership and by putting an emphasis on Confucian ideals. This can be seen in three Chinese dynasties; the Han, Sui, and Tan. Even though they differed in some ways, they...
Mohan Rakesh, Modernism, And The Postcolonial Present9589 words - 38 pages MOHAN RAKESH, MODERNISM, AND THE POSTCOLONIAL PRESENTAbstractMohan Rakesh, Modernism, and the Postcolonial Present": The fin-de-siécle critical project of redefining the spatio-temporal boundaries of modernism has lately gathered new momentum by taking up the question of modernism's relation to colonialism and...
njkkkkkkkkkk8226 words - 33 pages Culture of IndiaContents1 Religions2 Perceptions of Indian culture3 Family structure and marriage3.1 Arranged marriage3.2 Wedding rituals4 Greetings5 Festivals6 Animals7 Cuisine8 Clothing9 Languages and literature9.1 History9.2 Epics10...
Applied Behavior Analysis982 words - 4 pages Applied behavior Analysis (ABA) is the scientific application of set principals of operant behavior that branch off of the behaviorism philosophical approach of behavior. The core principals of Applied Behavior Analysis are to target an individual’s behavior for change that has a real life application for the individual. Moreover, of Applied Behavior Analysis seeks to discover the environmental variables that influence the individual behavior...
Real Play and Piaget899 words - 4 pages Real Play "Play that is initiated and directed by children and that bubbles up from within the child rather than being imposed by adults is disappearing from our landscape of childhood. There are many reasons for this, such as long hours spent in front of a TV, fear of "stranger danger" when outside." (Exchange Every Day, 2009) Research, past and present, clearly points to the importance of play for the healthy and full development of the...
OOA VS structured analysis1183 words - 5 pages The Analysis Phase is the third phase in the Systems Development Life Cycle but most system development methodologies contain some type of analysis phase. It is during the Analysis Phase that the current system and the problem deficiency or new requirement that is driving the development is studied in detail. The focus during the...
The analysis of Greek mythology as a symbol of rebellion1212 words - 5 pages Throughout a person’s life, one goes through the process of rebellion. In the play Medea, a work in translation by Euripides, mythology is symbolic of rebellion. This statement will be proven through the analysis of mythology as fully symbolic of suppression. It will also be proven through an analysis of the world around the character Medea and analysis of Medea’s actions. In order to comprehend all stances opposing mythology as fully symbolic...
Abhijñanashakuntala, or Shakuntala, is Kalidasa’s best-known play, and, perhaps the best known play of the classical Sanskrit repertoire. The play takes its title from one of its central characters, a young woman raised in a forest hermitage. Like others of Kalidasa’s heroines, however, the young woman is not merely a hermit. Her forest life is temporary, and she comes into her real identity—an identity of which she is mostly unaware when the play begins—through her interaction with a king during the course of the play.
Shakuntala reiterates other themes that are common to Kalidasa’s other plays. Like Pururavas in Vikramorvashiya, Duhshanta spends a chunk of the play—most of Act Six—lamenting Shakuntala’s absence and his part in it.
In the end, the play demonstrates a consistent principle of Sanskrit drama. As opposed to the Aristotelian vision of dramatic characters to begin in a particular condition at a specific plot point and develop over the course of succeeding plot points so as to be different following the climactic culmination of plot points, the characters of Shakuntala have changed little in the end. The play does have a plot, and the events affect the characters greatly. But the conclusion of the play finds Duhshanta and Shakuntala and their son going to the palace to live with each other happily ever after, just as the ascetic in the hermitage promises in the first act. In Kalidasa’s play, circumstances of plot may divert the characters from what they are as the play begins. But the characters are ultimately fixed entities who do not “learn” through the play so as to become something else. Instead, characters must return to what they are.
Director: the director of the play, who appears in the prologue with the actress
Actress: an actress in the troupe that performs the play, who appears in the prologue with the director
King Duhshanta: king of Hastinapura
Shakuntala: a young hermit of divine parentage
Madhavya: the play’s obligatory vidushaka, or clown. King Duhshanta erstwhile companion
Anasuya: a young woman who is Shakuntala’s hermitage friend
Priyamvada: a young woman who is Shakuntala’s hermitage friend
Kanva: Shakuntala’s adoptive father in the forest hermitage
Gautami: presiding female hermit in the hermitage
Sharngarava: a male hermit
Sharadvata: a male hermit
Durvasas: a traveling sage with a bad temper
Vatayana: the king’s chamberlain
Somarata: chief priest of the palace
Karabhaka: a royal messenger
Vetravati: the principal female steward of the king’s court
Madhukarika: a maid
Parabhrtika: a maid
Chaturika: a servant
Raivataka: steward of the king’s chamber
Hamsapadika: one of Duhshanta’s wives (only her voice is heard)
Suchaka: a policeman
Januka: a policeman
Maricha: keeper of the celestial hermitage
Aditi: Maricha’s wife
Matali: Indra’s charioteer
Sanumati: a celestial nymph
Boy: Duhshanta’s and Shakuntala’s son
SUMMARY OF THE PLAY
Act One: Following the nandi-prayer, the director and an actress appear in a prologue. The director and the actress discuss the audience and the appropriate play to perform for them. They decide upon Kalidasa’s play Shakuntala, but the director is so caught away by a song that the actress sings that he forgets which play they’ve decided on. The actress reminds him.
Duhshanta enters on a chariot, chasing a deer. A hermit stops him, pointing out that he has entered a hermitage in which the animal is protected. The king relents. The hermit blesses the king with the promise of a son. Passing further into the hermitage, King Duhshanta surreptitiously watches Shakuntala, Anusuya, and Priyamvada. When a bee troubles Shakuntala, Duhshanta leaves his hiding place, but does not reveal that he is the king, though he gives to Shakuntala a ring that suggests his identity. The king’s soldiers disturb the hermitage and he leaves to draw them away.
Act Two: The clown Madhavya enters, complaining. Madhavya and the king conspire to get close to Shakuntala. Duhshanta sends Madhavya back to the palace to participate in his place at the ceremonies marking the end of the king’s mother’s fast.
Act Three: Having revealed his identity, King Duhshanta rests in the hermitage. The king spies on Anusuya, Priyamvada, and Shakuntala, talking obliquely of romance. He discerns that Shakuntala is smitten with him. When Shakuntala sings a love poem, the king steps out of hiding. They all speak obliquely of romance. Anusuya and Priyamvada slip away. Duhshanta and Shakuntala get close, but the king hides when Gautami appears. The king puzzles over his failure to take advantage of the moment, then leaves to protect the evening rites.
Act Four: Anusuya and Priyamvada discuss Shakuntala’s marriage to Duhshanta, which has been accomplished simply by the two lovers’ common consent. They hear Durvasas’s angry voice, chastising Shakuntala for not attending to him properly upon his arrival at the hermitage. Because she is distracted by thoughts of her lover, the sage imposes a curse that her lover will completely forget her. Priyamvada dashes offstage and returns to report that because she implored the sage to reconsider, Durvasas has allowed that although the king will forget Shakuntala, the glimpse of the ring the king gave to her will restore his memory. Shakuntala prepares to leave for the king’s palace, escorted by Gautami, Sharngarava, and Saradvata. Shakuntala’s departure from the hermitage is charged with emotion.
Act Five: King Duhshanta sends Madhavya into the king’s chambers to try to mollify Queen Hamsapadika, who is upset over the king’s feelings for his other wives. The embassy from Kanva’s hermitage is announced in the court. Shakuntala, Gautami, Sharngarava, and Saradvata enter. They all feel misgivings. Sharngarava informs the king that Shakuntala is pregnant, and requests that the king receive her as his wife. The king has forgotten Shakuntala entirely, and treats the request as a scam. Shakuntala discovers that Duhshanta’s ring has disappeared from her finger. Gautami specualtes that Shakuntala lost it while bathing. Shakuntala accuses the king of exploiting her. The king responds with accusations of his own. Sharngarava repudiates Shakuntala and refuses to return her to the hermitage, though Gautami pleads otherwise. A court priest convinces the king to allow Shakuntala to stay in the palace until she gives birth so that her son can be examined for marks of royalty. The priest proposes to send her back to the hermitage if the child proves to have no such signs. The king consents to the priest’s plan, but before it can be implemented, Shakuntala storms out, calling the earth to receive her. The report returns from offstage that a ray of light seized Shakuntala and carried her off. King Duhshanta is bewildered.
Act Six: Two policemen bring a fisherman to the chief of police with the accusation that the fisherman has stolen a royal signet ring the officers have found in his possession. The fisherman claims to have found it in the belly of a fish. The police chief goes to the palace and returns with the order to release the fisherman and with compensatory payment for the ring. The police chief reports that the sight of the ring disturbed the king. Sanumati comes invisibly to check up on Duhshanta and overhears two maids discussing the king’s miserable condition with the royal chamberlain. Duhshanta has cancelled all celebrations. Sanumati comments to herself that Shakuntala is similarly miserable. Duhshanta and Madhavya talk of what has happened while Sanumati listens. Chaturika brings in the king’s painting of Shakuntala. The king loses himself in the painting. Word comes that Queen Vasumati is on her way. Madhavya takes the painting and flees. Word of a shipwreck arrives. A wealthy merchant is dead. Duhshanta orders that the merchant’s wealth go to one of his surviving wives who is pregnant. Duhshanta hears a cry of distress. Matali appears and takes Duhshanta to fight off demons threatening Indra.
Act Seven: Having vanquished the demons, Matali and Duhshanta pass through heaven. Duhshanta asks to visit Maricha’s celestial hermitage. Matali leaves Duhshanta beneath a hermitage tree. The king hears a disturbance and finds a young boy wrestling with a lion cub. Duhshanta sees the marks of royalty on the boy. The boy’s armlet falls off and Duhshanta picks it up. Two ascetics tell Duhshanta that if anyone but the boy’s parents pick up the armlet, it turns to a snake and strikes the perpetrator. Shakuntala arrives. She does not, at first, recognize Duhshanta, who recounts the manner in which the ring restored his memory. Matali, Maricha, and Aditi arrive. They explain Durvasas’s curse. The family is reunited and returns to Duhshanta’s palace.