Assignment #5 - Sweta Ramachandran Chiarucci 224 Wheeler...

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Sweta Ramachandran Chiarucci 224 Wheeler South and Southeast Asian Studies R5A 26 October 2007 Assignment #5: The Recognition of Shakuntala by Kalidasa The Recognition of Shakuntala by the great poet and playwright Kalidasa is a play about the love of King Dusyanta for Shakuntala, the daughter of sage Vishwamitra and the celestial nymph Menaka. Overwhelmingly erotic in tone, the play aims to produce an experience of aesthetic rapture in the audience. This emotion inspired in the reader is called rasa, which is not located in the work of art but in the viewers who experience it themselves. Rasa does not refer to the everyday universal emotions such as happiness, sorrow, anger, and love, but rather to their transformation into aesthetic sentiment. The transformation of worldly emotion into aesthetic sentiment occurs when the readers become intensely aware of the feelings in their own hearts. This acknowledgement and awareness entails its transformation into aesthetic sentiment, which is the true definition of rasa. There are nine principle rasas that have been identified: srngara (erotic), hasya (comic), karuna (compassionate), raudra (wrathful), vira (faithful), bhayanaka (fearful), bibhatsa (odious), adbhuta (amazing), and santa (quietist). Throughout the play, all nine rasas are evoked in the reader. However, in the third act the predominant rasa is srngara (erotic) as Shakuntala pines for Dusyanta and both finally reveal their love for each other. Kalidasa utilizes the setting, the actions and emotional states of the main characters, and their means of expressing emotion to evoke a passionate feeling in his readers. Abandoned at birth by her parents, Shakuntala is reared in a secluded hermitage
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and grows up a comely but innocent maiden. While the elders of the hermitage are away on a pilgrimage, Dusyanta, king of Hastinapura, comes hunting in the forest and chances upon the hermitage. Although Shakuntala immediately captivates him, he is hesitant to pursue her because he belongs to the kingly ( ksatriya ) caste and thus would not usually wed a member of the priestly ( Brahman ) class. After learning of her true lineage, Dusyanta realizes that she is suitable for marriage. In the third act, the king searches for Shakuntala, determined to seek refuge in the sight of his beloved. As the act progresses, the feelings of passion intensify, culminating in the meeting between the lovers. Kalidasa
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This note was uploaded on 11/23/2009 for the course CHEM Chemistry taught by Professor Nitche during the Spring '08 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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Assignment #5 - Sweta Ramachandran Chiarucci 224 Wheeler...

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