Despite arousal of emotions being the primary concern of an artist in a work of art, the world of English literature still lacks a systematic discovery and study of it. The great saint of Indian tradition, Bharatamuni, in his classic, Natyasastra (Chapter VI and VII) has propounded the Rasa-Bhava theory which describes in detail all the emotions which are inborn in man and emotions which can be aroused in man. This book attempts to uncover to the western world the systematic record of emotions as discovered by Bharatmuni and which are as relevant and acceptable even today. An application of the Rasa-Bhava theory on any branch of literature would enable one to analyze with perfection the display of emotions in it. We are sure that this book will not only help the readers understand the function of emotions impeccably but will also encourage further the study and research in this area.
Dr. Alok Chansoria, former Chairman of the Text-Book Corporation of Madhya Pradesh, Govt. of M.P., was born in 1960 at Varanasi and Post-graduated from Rani Durgavati Vishwavidyalaya, Jabalpur and is the Chairman, Board of Studies in English and other European Languages at Rani Durgavati Vishwavidyalaya Jabalpur. He works as Head, Department of English at Hawabagh Women's College Jabalpur. His scholarship is manifest in his first book entitled Nehru's Literary Works, which has received global acclaim. This book, besides representing his remarkable sense of interpretation and judgment, is a singular example of the application of Indian concept of emotion on foreign literature.
Dr. (Mrs.) Shahewar Syed, M.A. (English), M.Phil., Ph.D., was born in 1970 at Chandrapur District in Maharastra and Post-graduated from R.D. University, Jabalpur. She works as Asst. Professor in the Department of English at Hawabagh Women's College, Jabalpur and has to her credit a number of Research Papers published in national journals of repute. This book provides evidence of her deep critical insight and profound analytical power by way of which she has remarkably contributed to the area of English literary criticism.
It gives me immense pleasure to know that Dr. Alok Chansoria and Dr. Shahewar Syed have endeavoured into bringing out a book on "Emotions of Shakespeare's Tragedies : (An Application of the Bharatamuni's Rasa-Bha-va Theory and Aristotle's Theory of Katharsis on Hamlet and Othello)".
The arousal of emotions happens to be the prime concern of a literary work. It is through the arousal and pacification of emotions that one of the cardinal aims of literature i.e. refinement of personality, is achieved. What this book suggests is that the emotions of pity and fear, around which Aristotle's definition of tragedy rotates, are not the only emotions aroused while going through a tragedy. There are other emotions as well. A systematic study of all the emotions has been made by the great saint of the Indian tradition Shri Bharatamuni in his work Natysastra, much before the advent of the famous Western critic Aristotle, on the scene.
In this book the authors have not only revived the age-old Rasa-Bhava theory of Bharatamuni given in the Natysastra but have also applied it on Shakespeare's famous tragedies Hamlet and Othello, in order to explore the emotions at work in them. Again, the Western concept of emotion, which finds its roots in Aristotle's definition of tragedy, has been applied on the same plays by the authors. Such an application and comparison is something original and unique. It discovers to the world the richness of Indian literary criticism, which has grown deep roots in Bharatmuni's Natyasastra.
Unlike Aristotle's theory of Catharsis, the Indian theory of Rasa-Bhava talks of tragedy as having its own peculiar kind of aesthetic pleasure like all other poetry. The dramatist in two to three hours time does not intend only to purify the souls of the spectators, instead, he stirs admiration and excites sympathy or even affection for the hero.
On the death of the hero the audience is moved to its most cordial sympathy or the most reverend awe for the hero. Theories, unless put to practice, become tedious, uninteresting and unprofitable. Whether it is the Western or the Indian concept of emotion, this book for the first time in the field of literature makes an attempt to apply both these concepts on drama or to be more precise on the tragedies of William Shakespeare. Besides, one would indubitably appreciate the authors' in-depth analysis and logical reasoning exhibited in the English translation from Sanskrit of the emotive terms used by Bharatamuni in the Natyasastra.
I am confident, the book will be a paradigm for students of literature who are interested in inter-disciplinary studies and are prepared to accept and introduce the valuable ideas of other disciplines with a view to enrich the texture of their own. They will certainly be profited by the critical insight and scholarship of the authors. My blessings shall ever remain with the authors in their endeavour towards such scholastic achievements.
Aristotle's Poetics is the poetics of drama, especially of tragedy. Aristotle devotes a large part of his treatise, chapter VI-XIX to talking about tragedy. Western literary criticism founded on Aristotle's Poetics projects the emotions of pity and fear in the study of tragedy. All other elements viz plot, character, rhythm, diction, song and spectacle are discussed from the viewpoint of their structural value. For Aristotle tragedy concentrates on the arousal and pacification of the emotions of pity and fear. Due to this normative approach studies of emotions have been either overlooked or partly accomplished. Moreover, tragedy cannot be confined to only two emotions since there happens to be congeries of emotions in a tragedy.
Most Shakespeare's critics on tragedy have shown their interest in either muthos or praxis and have overlooked the emotions contained in Shakespeare's tragedies. It is, perhaps, T.S. Eliot who for the first time created awareness about the emotion of Hamlet but he too did not analyse the emotions of Hamlet in detail. Obviously, Eliot's attempt is guided by his own critical inevitability rather than by the state of emotions in Hamlet. It is therefore necessary to draw the attention of the readers of Shakespeare's tragedies to the interplay of emotions in it. We believe that this book will help them understand the emotions of these tragedies and this understanding will heighten their appreciation of the tragic heroes and heroines of these plays, other characters besides.
The arousal of emotions seems to be the prime concern of a sustained literary work. It is through the arousal and pacification of emotions that the prime aim of literature, i.e. refinement of personality, is fulfilled. Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), called the father of experimental psychology, was the first psychologist who based his theory of emotion on an analysis of introspective reports of feelings generated by sensory stimuli. Charles Darwin gave the evolutionary concept of emotion and then we have a host of psychologists like Robert E. Silverman, William James, Carl Lange, Cannon, Bard, B.F. Skinner, etc. who have valuably contributed in this field. Further, we have the various emotive theories pronounced by different writers but T.S. Eliot and I.A. Richards, who regarded emotion as an ingredient of consciousness, presented the most useful ones.
Emotion usually conveys either the poet's expression of an inner state of mind and body or the reader's re-experiencing of the original emotion. This is in fact a general concept of emotion but to have a detailed knowledge of emotion and to know how this mass emotion influences and revolutionizes the life of an individual in a catastrophic manner, we had better turned to Sanskrit poetics. It gives us that complete theory of aesthetic perception which enables us to relish the sentiment (rasa). There is a vast distinction between Sanskrit and Western criticism with respect to emotions. To exemplify our position with regard to emotions, we propose to analyse the following questions in the light of Sanskrit poetics:
(a) What are the causes of emotion?
(b) How is an emotion intensified?
(c) What is the emotional state of the spectators after they have seen the performance of a play?
This book in fact proposes to differ from Aristotle's theory of catharsis of the emotions of pity and fear in a tragedy. The twin emotions of pity and fear are not the only emotions aroused while seeing a tragedy. There are other emotions as well. The Indian concept of emotion based on the Rasa-Bhava theory of Bharatamuni, given in the Natyasastra, presents a list of such emotions. Tragedy is a form of poetry and like all poetry it came into being to gratify certain of the deeper emotions in man: it exists to provide its own particular kind of aesthetic pleasure. The dramatist, in the two to three hours time, does not intend only to purify the soul of the spectators, instead, he stirs admiration and excites sympathy or even affection for his hero. On the death of the hero the audience is moved to its most cordial sympathy or most reverend awe for that hero.
In a work of art, emotions play a vital role in making it beautiful. Although poetry is transcendental, it is rooted in men's emotions, impulses and ideas. Indian or Sanskrit poetics lumps all these together as emotions (bhava) and it is out of these that sentiment (rasa) is experienced. Bharata's NatyaSastra provides a detailed discussion on the emotions at work in drama. This has been the reason why we turned to Sanskrit poetics so that we may reach the right conclusion and also explore all the emotions present in Hamlet and Othello, the two great tragedies of Shakespeare, which otherwise would not have been possible with the help of the western concept only.
Hamlet is one of the most famous and popular plays in the English language. It has no rival even among the plays of Shakespeare. The cause of its popularity is the subtlety or complexity of its emotions. Even though a lot of criticism has been written and published on Hamlet but none of the critics have dared to analyse it from the emotive point of view. Our analysis highlights the issue that Hamlet is perhaps the only tragedy that opens and ends with the news of death and destruction of the noble and brave characters along with the vicious and evil ones. Due to this the abiding emotion (sthayibhava) of sorrow (soka) dominates the tragedy from the first event of the play to the last. The revenge is complete in the end and the hero dies in peace (Santa) but sorrow (Soka) or grief resides in all.
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