If any writer deserves the title of “poet’s poet,” it is Klidsa. The pure beauty of his language has prompted many poets over the centuries—both Indian and Western—to compose tributes to him. Notable among Western devotees is Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who saw in Klidsa the poet’s “highest function as the representative of the most natural condition, of the most beautiful way of life, of the purest moral effort, of the worthiest majesty, of the most sincere contemplation.” In the West, critics have consistently placed Klidsa among the ranks of Sophocles, Vergil, Dante, and William Shakespeare, giving proof of his universal appeal.
To appreciate Klidsa’s plays, one must first understand the fundamental concepts that underlie Sanskrit drama. The essence of Western dramaturgy has always been conflict; a play usually traces the development and resolution of a particular set of opposing forces. To Indian dramatists, however, conflict is only a secondary consideration; their actual aim is the opposite, to depict harmony in their plays. They do this by evoking rasa in the audience, presenting the nine basic emotions (desire, laughter, anger, sorrow, pride, fear, disgust, wonder, and peace) in perfect balance during the play so as to produce at the end an illuminating revelation of oneness, in which for the moment the spectator is vouchsafed a dispassionate insight into the life of things. Ideally the...
(The entire section is 2896 words.)
Show us the love and view this for free! Use the facebook like button, or any other share button on this page, and get this content free!free!
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Kālidāsa Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!