India, as a country is well known for it, is a deeply rooted culture of long lasting and old unabridged poetic acts famously known as Sanskrit plays. This is mainly because this type of play essentially combines the use of both the conventional Prakrit with Sanskrit together with a wide variety of other vernacular language forms. A critical look at this type of dramas indicates that Sanskrit plays cover a wide array of play types and subject matters. These mainly entail full-length episodes of mythical and love stories as well as palace intrigues and political dramas. In addition to these aspects, such plays also include some instances of love monologues mostly of one act nature and shorter farces.
The most intriguing characteristic of this kind of drama is that they mostly revolve around the character and personality of a dignified hero. Another important feature of this type of play is that they are mostly centered and focus on human relationships in the ancient society. These are among the many aspects that were utilized in the making of the play Shakantula (Lawall, 197).
The worldly known and recognized creative piece of writing Shakuntala is considered by many scholars to be the archetype of Sanskrit plays. The primary account of this lyrical, folk tale like drama is acquired from the infamous Mahabharata. The piece of art has successfully borrowed a lot and enhances elaborate events and characters from classic literature (Ryder, 77).
An in-depth analysis of the play reveals the varied combinations of the various facets of the human society. The heart throbbing drama maneuvers freely the deepest parts of the jungle to the urban dwelling where the palace sits. It also combines some instances of supernatural powers by maneuvering from the earth to the deepest parts of the heavens. In most instances of the drama, mystical powers play significant roles. The incorporation of supernatural powers into the play signifies the relationship between the humans in the society and the spirits in the spiritual world.
The elaborate and fantastic human world is creatively enhanced with a poetic intensity that describes the various thematic expressions that describe the play. The play mainly focuses on developing such themes that directly affects the human society. This entails themes such as rejection, love, and longing, on an enhanced level, the major conflicts in the play are heightened by the conflicting forces of duty and desire. The confronting forces of duty versus desire form the primary source of conflict in the play Shakuntala. This is an aspect nearly evident in every other Sanskrit plays as seen in the many Chinese and Western dramas (Puchner, 154).
The language use in Shakuntala is characteristic of many other Sanskrit plays. It ideally comprises of unification local Prakrit dialects with classical Sanskrit. In this play, it is evident that high officials of the state such as the Brahman priests, royal heroes, and ascetics use Sanskrit language. Children, women and other local members of the society speak Prakrit language. From this, it is, therefore, evident that the play from the perspective of its language use indicates the gender and social hierarchies that existed in the society at that time. The intermingling of dialects between verses and prose in the play Shakuntala and many other Sanskrit dramas plays a significant role in widening the scope of linguistic variations. These variations range from vulgar to noble and low to high and anything else in between.
The character crew in Sanskrit plays such as Shakuntala is mostly types instead of personified individuals. In many instances, the character combination in Shakuntala drama comprises of a dignified hero, essentially a king or a prince and a heroine. The play on its various stages also showcases a villain character that brings out the evil elements in the society.
The manner in which Shakuntala play has been conducted on stage throughout history conforms to the standards of any typical Sanskrit play. Studies on how Sanskrit plays were previously performed and staged indicate that there is an agreement that the drama techniques corresponds to the historically developed play manuals. The above connotation explains the fact that Shakuntala play uses stylistic body languages, symbolic gestures, and facial expressions to convey aspects that are of significant sentimental values (Lawall, 78).
In the Shakuntala, dialogues are enhanced by the use of both prose and verse. In some instances, it is noted that a persona may trip out of a verse into prose and fall back into the verse again. This technique may be repeated several times with a combination of imagery and figurative speech thus demonstrating the playwrights’ unmatched poetic skills.
In conclusion, Shakuntala like many other Sanskrit dramas ends happily with major conflicts being comfortably resolved. This is because many Sanskrit plays, regularly considers human existence as predictable and orderly. Conflict in Sanskrit dramas occurs as characters attempt to operate outside an order established or sustained by divine agents. All such endeavors that mainly translate to be the source of conflicts are directed towards bringing these individuals into their predestined places.
Lawall, Sarah N. The Norton Anthology of World Literature 78-197. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2002. Print.
Puchner, Martin. The Norton Anthology of World Literature the Twentieth Century 100-154. 3rd ed. New York: Norton, 2012. Print.
Ryder, Arthur W. Shakuntala and Other Writings 50-77. New York: Dutton, 2009. Print.