Q.1. Bring out any two tragic features of Abhijyanamshakuntalam.

separation. It shows how an individual becomes a mere puppet in the hands of an inscrutable fate without knowing the reason behind it. Kalidasa very diligently retells the tragic tale of Shakuntala and her doleful fate in Abhijyanamshakuntalam. Though we cannot say with full determination that it is a tragedy (as the play ends happily), but obviously there are some tragic elements in the play. First, there is the sorrow of separation between Shakuntala and Dushyanta. The sadness of the separation becomes poignant because the beauty of their relationship was indeed sweet.

It was very painful to see the two lovers separated. This separation is further heightened by the fact that it does not come out of the mistakes of the characters involved but from the cruel twist of fate. Had Dushyanta not gone to his palace and had Durvasa not cursed Shakuntala, the entire tragedy wouldn’t have taken place. A tragedy often involves the loss due to separation and when this separation is caused not by the human agents involved it becomes all the more painful. Secondly, we find the interference of the Dues-ex-machina which we could find in a number of tragedies. We find that ultimately the reunion of the lovers occurs only due the help of the supernatural beings.



Q.2. Why do you think king Dushyanta wanted to stop the chase?

Ans. When a person falls in love he /she becomes kind and doesn’t want to create any kind of cruelty. King Dushyanta too has fallen in love with Shakuntala and thus does not want to be engaged any kind of killing. Dushyanta is now chasing a woman to get her love. For him killing animals is of no sport. He however argues that he is doing it for two reasons first, where they are staying is near a hermitage and hence they should not kill animals.

Secondly, the king says that all this chase has made his people become tired. This hiding of the facts from his own people is also symbolical of the fact that the king is in love. Hence through these lines Kalidasa beautifully brings out the salient features of love.

Q.3. Comment on the role of Dues-ex-machina.

Ans. The dues-ex-machina is present in the play longer than we would like to think it did. Shakuntala herself is born from the union of Rishi Vishwamitra and the Apsara Menaka. Both the parents however, forsake her to be raised by Kanva. Thus the very birth of Shakuntala is of semi divine origins. The next brush with supernatural events occurs when Durvasa curses Shakuntala that whomever she is thinking will forget her. We can say that the event is supernatural because it is included from outside and that Rishi Durvasa is almost supernatural in his abilities.

Then the next event occurs when Shakuntala is taken away by a supernatural being to the ashrama of Kanva. Finally, it required the interference of the supernatural beings to lead Dushyanta to the ashrama of Marica where the king and his beloved are reunited. Thus, the dues-ex-machina plays a very important role in the text. It shows the passiveness of the hero to find his beloved. The human agency failed to reconcile a forgetful husband and his wife.


Q.4. Describe Marica’s asharama.


Ans. The asharama is a place of mystic beauty. Nature reigns there is absolute splendour. The trees present there are miraculous ones which grant everyone’s wishes. The air is the only sustenance of the seers. Every moment the saints and seers are performing soothing ablutions and holy rites. The waters there are pristine and full with of golden hue. The caves where the seers perform meditation is jewelled. The preachers and saints practice contemplation right in the midst of the celestial beauties practicing rigorous abstinence. The place is a dream for even ascetics.



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