Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sakuntala and the Ring of Recollection Essay

Essay on 'Sakuntala and the Ring of Recollection'

The quotation occurs in the first Act of the story, when King Dusyanta met Sakuntala. King Dusyanta was traveling in the forest accompanied with his army. They were pursuing the male deer that was wounded by King’s arrow. Then King Dusyanta saw Sankuntala that was nursing that deer, which occurred to be her pet and he felt in love with her. The piece that I am going to analyze later refers to the opportunity that gifted to Dusyanta to get acquainted with Sakuntala. After they felt in love, they got married in the ashram. Then King Dusyanta had to leave for some time and he gave Sakuntala the ring as the sign of his deep affection and their love and promised to return as soon as he can.

So, Sakuntala did not notice a young man as nice as Dusyanta. She was very shy to look at him and to talk to him. It was the unusual new feeling for her. Dusyanta, on the other hand, had never seen s girl of such charm, grace and innocence. He was looking at her in the garden doing things such as watering plants and picking flowers. Each her move seemed very attractive to him. He was dreaming about the opportunity to talk to her.

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That chance to get acquainted with her came in a very outstanding way while he was walking in the garden unknown to the three girls that were talking to each other. Sakuntala was gathering jasmines from a bush when a bee decided to literally attack her lovely face. She made attempts to make him fly away, but was not successful. Her friends giggled and teased her and Sakuntala blushed and feigned anger. Dusyanta decided to use this excellent opportunity.

Later Dusyanta had already enough confidence to talk to Sakuntala about different things. Sakuntala found him interesting and his admiration of her was truly pleasant and flattering. Soon after that they had fallen in love.

The quotation is very important to the whole story, as it is the beginning of it. It describes the arousal of the feeling of affection between King and Sakuntala.

In the passage Sakuntala is frightened by the bee. It is very symbolic to my opinion, as bees are generally viewed as good creatures, as they are protectors, they bring honey. I think that it was the allegory that signified love that came to Sakuntala and Dusyanta. And that love was hovering around the beloved trying to make them understand what is happening between them in reality. Sakuntala is very frightened as bee is trying to attack her. Probably she is afraid to show her true feelings, while Dusyanta is confident and tries to calm her down and assure that there is nothing to fear. It can even seem that King envies the bee, as it can “hover softly near to whisper secrets of her ear” and “drink her lips treasure”. King was not willing to open his true identity, though he rescues Sakuntala from dangerous bee and he had to reveal who he is in reality.

Sakuntala’s personality is revealed in the paragraph as modest and shy, which is very desirable for the young lady quality. It doesn’t mean that she was less interested in love and relationships then her friends were, she just hided that better. Sankutala was trying to show off and be better that she was in reality; it seems that she knew that Dusyanta would have found the opportunity to talk to her, if his feelings to her were true. And the same with the King, he was looking for the sign. And the bee was that sign. This bee symbolizes the opportunity that is always given to those whose hearts are open to true feelings. It was also the sign that their feelings were true. That was the metaphor to depict that nature supports people’s intentions (Sharma et al 306).

The paragraph is very interesting for analysis, and I would like also to discuss that King says to Sankutala and her friends when saving her from the bee “who dares to molest these innocent young ascetics”. In Hinduism asceticism was said to be the perfect final life stage. As the person went to forest to live, was practicing mediations, was silent in his or her own thoughts and was seeking for liberation from the rebirth cycle. Ascetics accumulated spiritual power and were said sometimes to pose a threat to some gods (Zaehner 40-45).

Then, he mentions Puru king that rules the world and “punish evildoers”. There is a very interesting story about how Puru became the king. First of all Yayati was the Bharata king in the times long before Mahabharat. He was cursed by his father-in-law and he became old, deprived of sexual passion for the reason that he cheated on his wife. And Yayati was willing to regain everything he lost. He had five sons and once he gathered them all and proposed to swap their youth for his kingdom and wisdom. He wanted back all joys of life that youth affords and was even ready to give his kingdom for that. Four sons refused. First son said that he would be mocked mercilessly for taking his father’s age. Second son said he didn’t want old age to destroy his wisdom and strength. 

Third son refused as he was afraid he would not be able to move freely. The forth son said that he would not stand the shame to be taken care by other people. And the youngest son, Puru, agreed to take his father’s age, as the sign of his filial love. Yayati suddenly became young and went to enjoy joys of life with young beautiful women and Puru became old and started ruling the kingdom. But after some time Yayati realized that the fire of sexual desire could never be quenched and he took back his old age from Puru, and Puru continued to rule Hastinapura (Kulke and Rothermund 50-54).

This is an allegory that shows the essence of true feelings and that in reality the person who acts in accordance with his feelings always gets the reward. It reflects the values of the period when the story was written, as well as the culture.

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Friday, November 2, 2012

A Woman of No Importance Essay

"A Woman of No Importance" Essay

An outspoken criticizer of the Victorian society, Oscar Wilde 1893 A Woman of No Importance may be very well defined as another milestone in the author’s line of social comedies. Aiming directly at some of his contemporaries’ manners and values (most notably family values), A Woman of No Importance does not only mocks and criticizes society, but also makes quite a few points on the nature of people, which explain why those values are wrong. In order to do so, Wilde discusses family roles and the role of family in society, as well as how revelations and outside pressures have little influence of the natural course relationships within families.

This paper examines the play’s nature as a comedy of manners from three main aspects. First it contrasts Wilde’s model of parenthood to what seems to be his contemporaries’ conventional view. Secondly, it shows how Rachel Arbuthnot demonstrates the enormous price of being loyal to the values of Victorian society. Finally, it discusses Wilde’s use of humor to help conveying his messages.

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Parents and Children
Growing up to a respected father who nevertheless had illegitimate children possibly brought Wilde to consider how the parenthood of infidel parents affect the relationships with their children. Moreover, it is possible to notice from Wilde’s work that throughout time, negative aspects of such relationships may develop and become more intense. That is, time is not necessarily a cure for anger and dismay among children.

In his 1890 novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, for example, Wilde notes that “Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them1.” Three years later, however, the author sharpens his view on the subject matter, as Lord Illingworth (who may share some biographical similarities with Wilde’s father) teaches a lesson on what the upbringing of ‘a good man’ in Victorian sense causes. Literally, Lord Illingworth claims that puritan upbringing does not only turn children into their parents’ judges, but also to merciless ones: “Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.”

Since Lord Illingworth support and even strengthen an argument previously made by Wilde (as the audience and critics of A Woman of No Importance may have already knew at the time), it might be the case that the author uses Lord Illingworth to state his views on family and parenthood. And judging from the text, these views are quite straightforwardly gloomy as for the results of Victorian education and family relations. Furthermore, the latter are presented by Wilde as a product of the Victorian era’s system of strict social expectations and ‘superior’ moral codes. Therefore, it is important to understand that the author shifts the burden of responsibility to the characters’ behavior from the latter to the codes to which they are expected to confirm. 

Rachel Arbuthnot: The Price of Social Conformity
In A Woman of No Importance, Oscar Wilde does not concludes his comedy by showing the irrationality of many Victorian values, but also shows how adhering to them may actually be disastrous for individuals. This notion is best conveyed through the character of Rachel Arbuthnot, whose determination to remain a good woman but receives a backlash from society. The sin she committed as a young woman hunts her both internally (most notably in the sense of her self perception) and externally (the prospective social costs of getting exposed). Since she seems dedicated to the social values and even tried to educate her son to follow them, Mrs Arbuthnot will remain an outsider of the society she adheres to.

It should be noted, however, that Rachel is not na├»ve as for the true nature of Victorian society. Throughout the play Rachel’s character is balanced by very clear and critical views of society, including such injustices as inequality between the sexes and the shallowness of Victorian aristocracy. Eventually she departs from England in the hope for getting accepted in a more open culture. But despite all these, Mrs Arbuthnot’s submissive and confirmative attitude have led her son Gerald to judge her unfavorably, just as most other characters (with the exception of Hester) see her as simply ‘fallen woman.’            

The Bitter Comedy
Throughout most of his literary career, Oscar Wilde was known for expressing harsh critics of many aspects of Victorian society. A Woman of No Importance is an example to the author’s unique ability to stressing the ridiculous sides of society along with the evils of its norms. Besides clear examples such as the silly-to-mean behavior of Mrs Allonby and Lady Caroline, Lord Illingworth’s witty and razor-sharp lines allow Wilde to ‘sweeten the pill’ of his critique. As a result of this choice, A Woman of No Importance requires quite a degree of cognitive dissonance to balance between Lord Illingworth’s manners and the content of his lines3.   

Although it prescribes some remedies to the illnesses of Victorian society, A Woman of No Importance is first and foremost a comedy of manners with clear targets and outspoken agenda. Wilde attacks both the values of Victorian society and the people who lead them, namely his contemporary aristocracy. The plot focuses on these values’ influence on the individual and the family, but also offers a view from the side and leaves some room for optimism in regard to the future of late 19th century Britons. As we know today, only a radical shift out of the hypocrisy of the Victorian moral code allowed to create a just and more rational society.   

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