Dasarupaka (critical study)

by Anuru Ranjan Mishra | 2015 | 106,293 words

This page relates ‘Western classical dramatic tradition’ of the English study of the Dasarupaka of Dhananjaya: an important work on Hindu dramaturgy (Natya-shastra) from the tenth century dealing with the ten divisions of Sanskrit drama (nata), describing their technical aspects and essential dramaturgical principals. These ten types of drama are categorised based on the plot (vastu), hero (neta) and sentiment (rasa)

Western classical dramatic tradition

The present research basically takes into account the Indian Classical dramatic traditions as reflected in the Nāṭyaśāstra and Daśarūpaka. Especially it focuses on the Bhāṇa type of Drama. The dramas or the Nāṭakas have a long tradition, much before written form came into existence. It is difficult to say when and where it began. However, this form of literature appeared at different times in different parts of the ancient world and continued to develop into several forms. A brief review of the antiquity of drama writing has been taken to see how Indian dramatic tradition had emerged and developed during their course of evolution.

Broadly, speaking, Western drama started in Greece and Mexico, where some dances of religious characters were performed on the occasions of festivals. The tradition of drama was started from 6th century B.C. in Athens, at the great festival of Dionysus. Every year in spring, religious rites were performed with coral-music; song and dance of satiric type was called Kordax (Varadapande, p. 66). The Western dramatic tradition represented the ancient heroes in the national tradition. The tradition of drama started with tragedy (tragoidia), which means a goat-song in Greek. It was so called (goat-song), because the best performance was rewarded with the prize of a he-goat, which was often used in the sacrifice of Dionysus. However, in Greek, drama means a specific mood of fiction represented in the performances. Here drama means “action”, which is derived from the root “to do” or “to act”. The Athenians knew only two types of dramas, i.e. tragedy and comedy. The th th tragedy was started before 6 century B.C. and comedy started after a long gap in 5 century B.C. Again, another type of drama was started, which is called satyr play. Most of dramas were based on mythology or Epics. Some of the eminent Athenian playwriters such as Aeschylus (526-456 B.C.), Sophocles (496-406 B.C.), Euripides (485406 B.C.), Aristophanes (450-386 B.C.)and Menander (342-290 B.C.) had touched great height. Most of the plays of these writers are still available. The Athenian dramatic tradition, however, became slow after Roman expansion into the Athenian cities. On other hand, Roman dramatic tradition touched the great high in this period. The Roman play writers like Plautus (240-180 B.C.), Terence (184-160 B.C.) and Seneca (4B.C.65A.D.) were very rich in their dramatic tradition. However, the plays did not survive in the cruel time.

Then the dramatic tradition spread to the west across Europe, around the Mediterranean and reached England. They produced some mythological dramas in the vernacular languages. Then they started performing mystery plays. Gradually, the tradition assumed elaborate forms of dramas at the Elizabethan era. In 16th and 17th centuries, great dramas were produced in England. Some best play-writers, like Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Middletonand Ben Jonson were prominent among them. However, there is no evidence that any dramatic theory was available before Aristotle’s “Poetics”, which was written between 333 century B.C. and 322 century B.C. and when “Poetics” developed, western dramas became more systematic. It describes thoroughly the nature of drama.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: