Shakuntala Critical Analysis Essay

Dushyanta, the king of India, is hunting one day when his chariot takes him into the sacred grounds of a religious establishment. A hermit stops the king and reminds him that he has sworn to protect the religious people who live there. The king leaves his chariot and wanders through the hallowed groves. As he walks, he hears voices and then sees three young women passing through the grove to water the plants growing there. When a bee, angered by their presence, flies at one of the young women, she playfully calls out for Dushyanta to rescue her, not knowing that the king is anywhere near.

Dushyanta, stepping from his hiding place, announces himself, but not as the king; rather, he says that he is the king’s representative appointed to oversee the safety of the grove and its inhabitants. While they talk, Dushyanta learns that akuntal, the young woman who had cried out, is no ordinary maid but the child of a Brahman and a water nymph. Dushyanta falls in love with her. akuntal also feels the first pangs of love for the king and believes that the Hindu god of love has struck her with his five flower-tipped arrows.

Mathavya, the king’s jester, complains to his master that the king and his retinue spend too much time in hunting and that this life is too hard on him. Ostensibly to humor the jester, but actually to have more time to seek out akuntal, the king calls off any further hunting and orders his retinue to camp near the sacred grove in which akuntal lives with her foster father, a hermit wise man named Kanwa. A short time later, word comes to the camp that the king’s mother wishes him to return to the capital to take part in certain ceremonies, but Dushyanta is so smitten with love for akuntal that he sends his retinue back while he remains at the sacred grove in the hope of seeing akuntal again.

Since their first meeting, both the king and akuntal have languished with love. At last Dushyanta finds an excuse and opportunity to revisit the grove, and there he meets akuntal again. Both are clearly in love, but neither knows how to tell the other. One of akuntal’s attendants finally conceives the idea of having her send a love note to the king. As akuntal writes the note, Dushyanta hears her speaking the words aloud. He steps from his place of concealment and tells her of his determination to make her his consort and the head of his household, above all his other wives. akuntal leaves, telling him that she will have to talk over the subject of marriage with her attendants, for her foster father, Kanwa, is absent and so cannot give his consent.

Sometime later, a scurrilous and eccentric sage comes to the sacred grove. He feels himself slighted by akuntal, who had not heard of his arrival and so has not accomplished the rites of hospitality to suit him. In his anger, he calls down a curse on the young...

(The entire section is 1166 words.)

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 doesn’t 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...

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