Hayavadana: A Contemporary Relevance of Myth By Dr. Dinesh H. Patel[1]


Drama is a composite art in which the written word of the playwright is concretized when it becomes the spoken word of the actor on the stage. Indian drama written in English and translated in English by Indian playwrights has registered a remarkable growth recent decades. Contemporary Indian drama in English translation has made bold innovations and fruitful experiments in terms of both thematic concerns and technical virtuosities. It has been increasingly turning to history, legend, myth and folklore, tapping their springs of vitality and vocal cords of popularity with splendid results. Girish Karnad, Mohan Rakesh, Badal Sircar and Vijay Tendulakar have remained the most representative of the contemporary Indian drama not only in Hindi, Bengali, Marathi and Kannada respectively but also on the pan-Indian level. Among the major dramatists mentioned above, Girish Karnad has been regarded as the leading dramatist so far as the use of myth and history is concerned and his plays vividly represent this trend. In all his plays – be mythical, historical or legendary – Karnad’s approach is modern. In his play, Hayavadana, he reinforces the central problem of human existence in a world of tangled relationships. In Hayavadana, he skillfully uses the principles and theme of Indian mythology, folk tales and folk theatre – masks, curtains, dolls, the story-within-a-story – to create a bizarre world of incomplete individuals, indifferent gods, dolls that speak and children who cannot – world which appears to be indifferent to the desires and frustrations, joys and sorrows of human beings. In this paper an attempt has been made to study how successfully Karnad has used myth, folk tales and history to represent his theme in his play.

Keywords: Myth, Girish Karnad, Folk theme, Thomas Mann, Kathasaritsagara, Mechanical concept, Mythos, Sanskrit stories, The transposed heads, Indian folk tradition

[1] Assistant Professor, Dept. of English, B. A. College of Agriculture, Anand Agricultural University, Anand, Gujarat.

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