What is the summary of "The Punishment" by Rabindranath Tagore?
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This story is fairly complex. It revolves around two brothers, Chidam and Dukhiram. Both are agricultural laborers, who after a particularly challenging day come home. They live with their two wives. Chidam's wife, Chandara, is young, quite pretty and very meticulous about her appearance and the overall presence that she represents. In contrast, Dukhiram's wife, Radha, is slovenly, unkempt and older. When asking for food, Dukhiram is angered by Radha's flippant responses that mock him. In a fit of rage, he kills Radha. As the village landlord enters the home on an unrelated issue after the murder has been committed, Chidam has a plan: He convinces his wife, Chandara, to take responsibility for the murder of the other wife as an accident. His thinking would be that this lie would allow his brother to live and would allow him to be able to get his wife out afterwards. This transformation of the truth ends up complicating matters, when Chandara decides to assume complete responsibility for the murder as a way to punish her husband. In this process, Chidam realizes that he is trapped in being able to tell the truth because of the web in which he is trapped. Even when each brother seeks to confess, and to tell their own version of truth, the court does not acknowledge it because of the confession offered by Chandara. At the end of the story, Chandara refuses to see Chidam as she is executed for the murder. The theme of the story explores the elusive notion of truth and the contingency of situations, identifying the changing order of traditionalist society in the modern setting.
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