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The Navarasa and Shakespeare

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The Navarasas are the human emotions in everyday life. They are extensively depicted in Kalidasa’s plays and also profusely used in all Indian dance-forms. Though the nine rasas are mainly used in Indian literature, they can also been seen in English literature. The Navarasas are, Shringara – love and beauty, Haasya – joy or mirth, Bibhatsya – disgust, Rowdra – anger, Shanta – peace, Veera – courage, Bhaya – fear, Karuna – grief and Adbhuta – wonder and curiosity. Shakespeare, being known for his remarkable portrayal of characters, has, in his plays, the perfect depiction of the Navarasas.

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His characters are alive, and their emotions are almost tangible. An example for Shringara, the rasa illustrating love or beauty, would be in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Shringara in its essence is the love that is felt when one finds something exquisitely beautiful. When Romeo sees Juliet, he falls head over heels in love with her and says, … “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.

” Haasya, joy and mirth, portrays the character of Puck from ‘ A Midsummer Night’s Dream. ’ Its used to depict amusement and lightheartedness.

Puck is a mischievous fairy, and enjoys playing pranks and creating a joyful chaos in the human and the fairy world. He says, … “I am that merry wanderer of the night. I jest to Oberon, and make him smile When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile, Neighing in likeness of a filly foal;” Disgust, or Bibhatsya, is very well described in ‘Macbeth’, when the protagonist Macbeth is sickened with himself after all the horrible things he has done at his wife’s command. Bibhatsya is evoked by something that is beneath human dignity something sickening.

Like the feeling of throwing up after something has revolted the being. Macbeth in this case, is horrified at his action and guilt haunts him immensely. He is naturally a character who is frank and generous, but the ambition of his wife, ruins him completely. The disgust that he feels for himself, comes out in grief, and he says, “My way of life has fallen into the sear, …. Mouth-honoured, breath, which the poor heart Would fain deny and dare not. ” Rowdra is known as one of the most violent rasas. Rowdra, or anger, is represented in Egeus’ anger towards Lysander in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.

Egeus is furious because his daughter Hermia defies him and wants to marry someone he doesn’t like. He storms into Theseus’ court and is ready to punish his daughter for disobeying him and declares, “Full of vexation come I, with complaint Against my child, my daughter Hermia… …. As she is mine I may dispose of her; Which shall be either to this gentleman Or to her death, according to our law Immediately provided in that case. ” The rasa Shanta, is well portrayed in the play ‘As You Like It’, when the Senior duke is banished into the forest but still is calm and enjoys the beauties of the nature surrounding him.

When one is Shanta, the outer circumstances bare disturb him. He is touched by something within, and that’s what keeps him calm. This is shown in the lines, “Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile, Hath not old custom made this life more sweet Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods More free from peril than the envious court? ” Courage is depicted by the rasa, Veera, and is portrayed by Romeo, in the play ‘Romeo and Juliet’. It’s usually portrayed when heroes go to battle, but also can be used as courage to stand up for something.

Though the Montagues and the Capulets detest each other enough to kill, Romeo and Juliet defy their families. They are in love, and their love is so deep, that they want to be together at whatever the cost. Their love portrays courage in the lines, Romeo: “With love’s light wings did I o’erperch these walls; For stony limits cannot hold love out, And what love can do, that dares love attempt. Therefore thy kinsmen are no let to me. Juliet: If they do see thee, they will murder thee. Romeo: Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye Than twenty of their swords!

Look thou but sweet, And I am proof against their enmity. Juliet: I would not for the world they saw thee here. Rome: I have night’s cloak to hide me from their sight; And but thou love me, let them find me here. My life were better ended by their hate Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love. ” Bhaya, fear, is depicted in ‘The Tempest’, where Caliban, though he resents Prospero, is terribly afraid of him. Bhaya is usually portrayed as a subtle anxiety to someone superior. This is shown in the lines, Prospero:… To answer other business.

Shrug’st thou, malice? If thou neglect’st, or dost unwillingly What I command, I’ll rack thee with old cramps, Fill all thy bones with aches, make thee roar, That beasts shall tremble at thy din. Caliban: No, pray thee. [Aside] I must obey. His art is of such pow’r, It would control my dam’s god, Setebos, And make a vassal of him. ” Karuna, or grief, is portrayed in the four major tragedies, ‘Macbeth’, ‘Othello’, ‘Hamlet’ and ‘King Lear’. It is a feeling of unspeakable tragedy and sadness that almost drives one to madness, or a complete depression.

The most extensive depiction of grief is in ‘King Lear’. He is unfair to the daughter who loves him and not his kingdom and that ends in her death. He feels guilty to be the cause of her death. His grief is shown in the lines, “I’ll tell thee; life and death! I am asham’d That thou hast the power to shake my manhood thus… ” The final rasa, Adbhuta, wonder and curiosity is the awe felt when one experiences something beyond imagination. This shown in lines from The Tempest where Ferdinand meet the shore of Prospero’s island and is awakened by Ariel’s song, “Where should this music be?

I’ th’ air or th’ earth? It sounds no more; and sure it waits upon Some god o’ th’ island. Sitting on a bank, Weeping again the King my father’s wreck, This music crept by me upon the waters, Allaying both their fury and my passion With its sweet air; thence I have follow’d it, Or it hath drawn me rather. But ’tis gone. No, it begins again. ” Although the conception of Navarasas in Indian and even if this play of emotion is not categorized as the “rasas” in western writing. It is clearly and used in Shakespeare’s literature.

Cite this The Navarasa and Shakespeare

The Navarasa and Shakespeare. (2016, Nov 16). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-navarasa-and-shakespeare/

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