Thursday, July 12, 2018

King Lear –William Shakespeare for the second year students of Rajarata University of Sri Lanka

Lear is the protagonist, whose willingness to believe his older daughters' empty flattery leads to the deaths of many people. In relying on the test of his daughters' love, Lear demonstrates that he lacks common sense or the ability to detect his older daughters' falseness. Lear cannot recognize Cordelia's honesty amid the flattery, which he craves. The depth of Lear's anger toward Kent, his devoted follower, suggests excessive pride — Lear refuses to be wrong. Hubris leads Lear to make a serious mistake in judgment, while Lear's excessive anger toward Kent also suggests the fragility of his emotional state. Hubris is a Greek term referring to excessive and destructive pride. In the ancient Greek world, hubris often resulted in the death of the tragic, heroic figure. This is clearly the case with Lear, who allows his excessive pride to destroy his family.
Throughout the play, the audience is permitted to see how Lear deals with problems. He is shocked when people do not obey as they have in the past, since Lear is king and he expects to be obeyed. However, instead of dealing with issues, Lear looks to the Fool to distract him with entertainment, to help him forget his problems. He has been insulted and demeaned as king, but he is not prepared to face those who are responsible. Instead, Lear often responds to problems with anger and outbursts of cursing, even a physical attack when provoked. When confronted with insults, Lear is helpless, at the mercy of his daughter and her servants, and he often succumbs to despair and self-pity. The once-omnipotent king struggles to find an effective means of dealing with his loss of power.
Eventually, the king reveals that he is frightened and apprehensive for his future, but he refuses to submit to another's decisions. Lear wants to remain in charge of his destiny, even though the choices he makes are poor or filled with danger. Thus, Lear chooses to go out into the storm because he must retain some element of control. The only other choice is to acquiesce to his daughters' control, and for Lear, that option is not worth considering. Lear is stubborn, like a willful child, and this is just one additional way in which he tries to deal with the events controlling his life. Lear flees into the storm, as a child flees a reality too harsh to accept.
In spite of his despair and self-pity, Lear is revealed as a complex man, one whose punishment far exceeds his foolish errors, and thus, Lear is deserving of the audience's sympathy. Eventually, Lear displays regret, remorse, empathy, and compassion for the poor, a population that Lear has not noticed before. Lear focuses on the parallels he sees to his own life, and so in a real sense, his pity for the poor is also a reflection of the pity he feels for his own situation.
Lear is the anointed king, God's representative, and thus, he shares the responsibility for dispensing justice on earth. He recognizes that he bears responsibility for both his own problems and for those of others, who suffer equally. His understanding of his complicity in the events that followed is a major step in accepting responsibility and in acknowledging that he is not infallible. Because of his own suffering, Lear has also learned that even he is not above God's justice.

King Lear –William Shakespeare for the second year students of Rajarata University of Sri Lanka

King Lear 
The aging king of Britain and the protagonist of the play, Lear is used to enjoying absolute power and to being flattered, and he does not respond well to being contradicted or challenged. At the beginning of the play, his values are notably hollow—he prioritizes the appearance of love over actual devotion and wishes to maintain the power of a king while unburdening himself of the responsibility. Nevertheless, he inspires loyalty in subjects such as Gloucester, Kent, Cordelia, and Edgar, all of whom risk their lives for him.
Lear’s youngest daughter, disowned by her father for refusing to flatter him. Cordelia is held in extremely high regard by all of the good characters in the play—the king of France marries her for her virtue alone, overlooking her lack of dowry. She remains loyal to Lear despite his cruelty toward her, forgives him, and displays a mild and forbearing temperament even toward her evil sisters, Goneril and Regan. Despite her obvious virtues, Cordelia’s reticence makes her motivations difficult to read, as in her refusal to declare her love for her father at the beginning of the play.

Lear’s ruthless oldest daughter and the wife of the duke of Albany. Goneril is jealous, treacherous, and amoral. Shakespeare’s audience would have been particularly shocked at Goneril’s aggressiveness, a quality that it would not have expected in a female character. She challenges Lear’s authority, boldly initiates an affair with Edmund, and wrests military power away from her husband.
Lear’s middle daughter and the wife of the duke of Cornwall. Regan is as ruthless as Goneril and as aggressive in all the same ways. In fact, it is difficult to think of any quality that distinguishes her from her sister. When they are not egging each other on to further acts of cruelty, they jealously compete for the same man, Edmund.

A nobleman loyal to King Lear whose rank, earl, is below that of duke. The first thing we learn about Gloucester is that he is an adulterer, having fathered a bastard son, Edmund. His fate is in many ways parallel to that of Lear: he misjudges which of his children to trust. He appears weak and ineffectual in the early acts, when he is unable to prevent Lear from being turned out of his own house, but he later demonstrates that he is also capable of great bravery.
Gloucester’s older, legitimate son. Edgar plays many different roles, starting out as a gullible fool easily tricked by his brother, then assuming a disguise as a mad beggar to evade his father’s men, then carrying his impersonation further to aid Lear and Gloucester, and finally appearing as an armored champion to avenge his brother’s treason. Edgar’s propensity for disguises and impersonations makes it difficult to characterize him effectively.

Gloucester’s younger, illegitimate son. Edmund resents his status as a bastard and schemes to usurp Gloucester’s title and possessions from Edgar. He is a formidable character, succeeding in almost all of his schemes and wreaking destruction upon virtually all of the other characters.

A nobleman of the same rank as Gloucester who is loyal to King Lear. Kent spends most of the play disguised as a peasant, calling himself “Caius,” so that he can continue to serve Lear even after Lear banishes him. He is extremely loyal, but he gets himself into trouble throughout the play by being extremely blunt and outspoken.
The husband of Lear’s daughter Goneril. Albany is good at heart, and he eventually denounces and opposes the cruelty of Goneril, Regan, and Cornwall. Yet he is indecisive and lacks foresight, realizing the evil of his allies quite late in the play.
The husband of Lear’s daughter Regan. Unlike Albany, Cornwall is domineering, cruel, and violent, and he works with his wife and sister-in-law Goneril to persecute Lear and Gloucester.
Lear’s jester, who uses double-talk and seemingly frivolous songs to give Lear important advice.
The steward, or chief servant, in Goneril’s house. Oswald obeys his mistress’s commands and helps her in her conspiracies.

King Lear by William Shakespeare for Second Year Students of Rajarata University of Sri Lanka-2018

Lear, the aging king of Britain, decides to step down from the throne and divide his kingdom evenly among his three daughters. First, however, he puts his daughters through a test, asking each to tell him how much she loves him. Goneril and Regan, Lear’s older daughters, give their father flattering answers. But Cordelia, Lear’s youngest and favorite daughter, remains silent, saying that she has no words to describe how much she loves her father. Lear flies into a rage and disowns Cordelia. The king of France, who has courted Cordelia, says that he still wants to marry her even without her land, and she accompanies him to France without her father’s blessing.
Lear quickly learns that he made a bad decision. Goneril and Regan swiftly begin to undermine the little authority that Lear still holds. Unable to believe that his beloved daughters are betraying him, Lear slowly goes insane. He flees his daughters’ houses to wander on a heath during a great thunderstorm, accompanied by his Fool and by Kent, a loyal nobleman in disguise.
Meanwhile, an elderly nobleman named Gloucester also experiences family problems. His illegitimate son, Edmund, tricks him into believing that his legitimate son, Edgar, is trying to kill him. Fleeing the manhunt that his father has set for him, Edgar disguises himself as a crazy beggar and calls himself “Poor Tom.” Like Lear, he heads out onto the heath.
When the loyal Gloucester realizes that Lear’s daughters have turned against their father, he decides to help Lear in spite of the danger. Regan and her husband, Cornwall, discover him helping Lear, accuse him of treason, blind him, and turn him out to wander the countryside. He ends up being led by his disguised son, Edgar, toward the city of Dover, where Lear has also been brought.
In Dover, a French army lands as part of an invasion led by Cordelia in an effort to save her father. Edmund apparently becomes romantically entangled with both Regan and Goneril, whose husband, Albany, is increasingly sympathetic to Lear’s cause. Goneril and Edmund conspire to kill Albany.
The despairing Gloucester tries to commit suicide, but Edgar saves him by pulling the strange trick of leading him off an imaginary cliff. Meanwhile, the English troops reach Dover, and the English, led by Edmund, defeat the Cordelia-led French. Lear and Cordelia are captured. In the climactic scene, Edgar duels with and kills Edmund; we learn of the death of Gloucester; Goneril poisons Regan out of jealousy over Edmund and then kills herself when her treachery is revealed to Albany; Edmund’s betrayal of Cordelia leads to her needless execution in prison; and Lear finally dies out of grief at Cordelia’s passing. Albany, Edgar, and the elderly Kent are left to take care of the country under a cloud of sorrow and regret.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Kindness, sacrifice, gratitude, wisdom and tolerance of the Buddha-External Degree Program-Bhiksu University of Sri Lanka

Prince Siddhartha was very kind to people, animals and other living things. He was also a very brave horseman and won many prizes in the country. Although he did not have to suffer any hardships and difficulties, as he had everything, he always thought of the poor people and living things who were working hard to make him happy. He felt sorry for them and wanted to make them happy too.
One day he was walking in the woods with his cousin Devadatta, who had brought his bow and arrows with him. Suddenly, Devadatta saw a swan flying and shot at it. His arrow brought the swan down. Both the boys ran to get the bird. As Siddhartha could run faster than Devadatta, he reached the swan's injured body first and found, to his surprise, that it was still alive. He gently pulled out the arrow from the wing. He then got a little juice from cool leaves, put it on the wound to stop the bleeding and with his soft hand stroked the swan, which was very frightened. When Devadatta came to claim the swan, Prince Siddhartha refused to give it to him. Devadatta was very angry to see his cousin keeping the swan away from him. "Give me my bird! I shot it down," said Devadatta.
"No, I am not going to give it to you," said the Prince. "If you had killed it, it would have been yours. But now, since it is only wounded but still alive, it belongs to me."
Devadatta still did not agree. Then Siddhartha suggested, "Let us go to the court of the Sage and ask him who really owns the swan." Devadatta agreed, so off they went to the court of the Sage to tell him about their quarrel.
The Sage hearing both boys' version of the story, said, "A life certainly must belong to he who tries to save it, a life cannot belong to one who is only trying to destroy it. The wounded swan by right belongs to Siddhartha."
One day, the children’s nanny got very sick. She was in great pain. Both Vishaka and Bimsara were very concerned. As soon as they returned from school they went to see their nanny and helped her with whatever they could. It is a very good quality to extend help when needed, for a person who always helps others. The two children showed this quality of gratitude. Both Mother and Father were very happy about the good qualities of their children. That day after the evening worship, the mother praised her children.
“My dear children, we are very happy about you. Most parents are not blessed with kind-hearted children. Proud and lazy children can be a burden to their families. If someone does not help a person who has helped them, then that person will not develop the quality of gratitude.”
“Mother, today we helped nanny to wash. She is getting better now.
 “Yes my children, that is very good! This is the real offering to the Buddha. The Buddha discoursed “Yo gilanam upattheiya, so man upattheyya” that means; if someone cares for a sick person, he is the one who cares for Buddha.
 Children, the Buddha highly appreciated the kind act of nursing sick people. The Buddha liked to see everyone doing well. That is why the Buddha is regarded as the greatest person ever to be born in this world. King Dharmashoka who ruled India around two thousand three hundred years ago built hospitals not only for humans but also for animals.
One day, the Buddha visited the temples with bhikkhus. While observing each room of the bhikkhus’, the Buddha heard someone moaning in pain. He stopped and listened. Then walked to the door of the room where the sound was coming through, and opened it. A very strong smell of badly festered wounds came out of the room. The Buddha went inside the room. An old bhikkhu was lying on a bed. His body was covered with blisters and most of them had burst and pus was oozing out along with blood. The Buddha went to him and asked kindly “Dear bhikkhu, don’t you have anyone to care for you?”
 Then that bhikkhu started to cry and said “My dear lord Buddha… I made a big mistake. I never cared for my peer bhikkhus when they got sick. I even failed to ask how they were doing. And I never offered any medicine to those who were ill. I lived without caring for others. When I heard their cries in pain, I pretended not to hear. Because of that, no one cares for me now. ”

Then the Buddha called all the bhikkhus in that temple. “Dear bhikkhus, when one falls sick; it is a must that you take care of him. Especially, you who have severed all your family bonds, all your relatives, friends, and properties and have become bhikkhus, you should be very kind to each other. Never should you be selfish or work in isolation. If someone likes to care for me, he should care for the sick. That is what I like.”
 Thereafter, the Buddha called disciple Ananda; “Dear Ananda, please prepare some warm water. Take these robes and wash them well. And dry them well. Hand over the warm water to me”.
 Then Buddha gently sponged the body of that sick bhikkhu with warm water. Then He softly wiped the body. Owing to the pus and blood that oozed out from the wounds, the wearing robe of the sick bhikkhu was glued to his body. Once his body was cleaned, the bhikkhu felt so much comfort, and he felt very happy and his mind became calm.”
 “Mother, the name of that sick bhikkhu was Poothigattatissa, wasn’t it?
 “Oh! Do you know the story?” asked mother.
 “Yes, Mother… The little bhikkhu at the temple told this story to us on a full moon day.”
 “Very good!  You must remember what you learn like that. Then the Buddha discoursed on Dhamma to bhikkhu Pootigattatissa. The bhikkhu Pootigattatissa listened to Dhamma with total concentration. And he started contemplating deeply in order to understand the meaning of Dhamma. Finally, he realized Dhamma. Just after the Buddha left the temple, the bhikkhu Pootigattatissa, while contemplating Dhamma with a calm and happy mind, passed away.
My children what we must understand is when someone falls sick, not only his body but his mind too gets sick. Hence, he gets hurt quickly. And he feels sad even for little things. He feels alone and helpless. Therefore, we must always help the sick people to get better. We should never expect anything in return for what we do for them. Then we could cultivate a lot of merit in this world.
Once, the Buddha was in an assembly when a man walked in looking furious. He thought Buddha was doing something wrong. He was a restless businessman and he had found that his children were spending hours with Buddha when they could have engaged themselves in business at that time, making more and more money. He felt that spending four hours of their day seated next to someone whose eyes were always closed was incredulous. This was what had upset the businessman. 
So, with furiousness walked straight up to Buddha looked him the eye and spat. He was so angry, he could not find the words to express them that he merely spat at Buddha. Buddha simply smiled. He showed no anger, though the disciples around him were angry. They would have liked to react but could not because Buddha was there. So, everybody was holding their lips and fists tight. After the businessman spat at Buddha and realized his action was not drawing a reaction, simply walked away in a huff. 
Buddha did not react or say anything. He just smiled. And that was enough to shock the angry man. For the first time in his life, the man had met someone who would just smile when he spat on his face. That man could not sleep all night and his whole body underwent such a transformation. He was shivering, shaking. He felt as if the whole world had turned upside down. The next day he went and fell at Buddhas feet and said, please forgive me. I did not know what I did. To which Buddha replied, I cannot excuse you!
Everyone including the man and Buddhas disciples was flabbergasted. Buddha then explained the reason for his statement. He said why I should forgive you when you have done nothing wrong. 
The businessman looked a little more surprised and told Buddha that it was he who had wronged him by spitting on him. Buddha simply said, Oh! That person is not there now. If I ever meet that person whom you spat on, I will tell him to excuse you. To this person who is here, you have done no wrong. That is real compassion.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Interpreter of Maladies

Clash between two Cultures
Central themes of all of Lahiri’s work, “Interpreter of Maladies” included, are the difficulties that Indians have in relating to Americans and the ways in which Indian Americans are caught in the middle of two very different cultures. We learn quite a few details about where the Das family fits into this cultural divide. Mr. and Mrs. Das were both born and raised in America, although their retired parents have now moved to India to live. The Dases visit every few years, bringing the children with them. They are Indian but not of India, and their dress and manner are wholly American. Although Mr. Kapasi recognizes some common cultural heritage, the Dases are no more familiar with India than any other tourist. Mr. Das relies on a tourist guidebook to tell him about the country through which they are traveling, and Mrs. Das could not be more uninterested in her surroundings if she tried. Although India is their parents’ home, Mr. and Mrs. Das are foreigners. Mr. Das even seems to take pride in his status as a stranger, telling Mr. Kapasi about his American roots with an “air of sudden confidence.”
Though Mr. Kapasi and the Dases do share an Indian heritage, their marriages reveal the extent of how different their cultures really are. Mr. Kapasi believes that he can relate to Mrs. Das’s unhappy marriage because he himself is in an unhappy marriage. He seeks this common ground as a way to find friendship and connection. However, the connection fails because the marriages are so vastly different. Mr. Kapasi’s parents arranged his marriage, and he and Mrs. Kapasi nothing in common. By contrast, Mrs. Das fell in love with Mr. Das at a young age, and although their union was encouraged by their parents, her marriage was not arranged. Mrs. Das’s comments about her and Mr. Das’s sexual behaviors during their courtship shock Mr. Kapasi, who has never seen his wife naked. Furthermore, Mr. Kapasi is offended by the concept of infidelity in Mrs. Das’s marriage. This lack of understanding reflects a differing understanding of duty and family between the two cultures. The two marriages may both be unhappy, but the causes, remedies, mistakes, and results of that unhappiness have no overlap whatsoever. Mr. Kapasi’s fantasy of forging a friendship with Mrs. Das is shattered even before he sees his address slip away in the wind. The cultural divide between him and Mrs. Das is, from his view, simply too vast.

Interpreter of Maladies

Plot Overview
The Das family is in India on vacation, and Mr. Das has hired Mr. Kapasi to drive them to visit the Sun Temple. The family sits in the car, which is stopped near a tea stall. Mr. and Mrs. Das are arguing about who should take their daughter, Tina, to the bathroom, and Mrs. Das ultimately takes her. Ronny, their son, darts out of the car to look at a goat. Mr. Das, who closely resembles Ronny, reprimands him but does nothing to stop him, even when he says he wants to give the goat a piece of gum. Mr. Das tells Bobby, the younger of their two sons, to go look after Ronny. When Bobby refuses, Mr. Das does nothing to enforce his order.
Mr. Das tells Mr. Kapasi that both he and his wife were born and raised in the United States. Mr. Das also reveals that their parents now live in India and that the Das family visits them every few years. Tina comes back to the car, clutching a doll with shorn hair. Mr. Das asks Tina where her mother is, using Mrs. Das’s first name, Mina. Mr. Kapasi notices that Mr. Das uses his wife’s first name, and he thinks it is an unusual way to speak to a child. While Mrs. Das buys some puffed rice from a nearby vendor, Mr. Das tells Mr. Kapasi that he is a middle-school teacher in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Mr. Kapasi reveals that he has been a tour guide for five years.
The group sets off. Tina plays with the locks in the back of the car, and Mrs. Das does not stop her. Mrs. Das sits in the car silently and eats her snack without offering any to anyone else. Along the road, they see monkeys, which Mr. Kapasi says are common in the area. Mr. Das has him stop the car so he can take a picture of a starving peasant. Mr. and Mrs. Das quarrel because Mr. Das has not gotten them a tour guide whose car has air-conditioning. Mr. Kapasi observes that Mr. and Mrs. Das are more like siblings to their children than parents.
Mr. Kapasi tells the Dases about his other job as an interpreter in a doctor’s office. Mrs. Das remarks that his job is romantic and asks him to tell her about some of his patients. However, Mr. Kapasi views his job as a failure. At one time, he had been a scholar of many languages, and now he remains fluent only in English. He took the interpreting job as a way to pay the medical bills when his eldest son contracted typhoid and died at age seven. He kept the job because the pay was better than his previous teaching job, but it reminds his wife of their son’s death. Mr. Kapasi’s marriage was arranged by his parents, and he and his wife have nothing in common. Mr. Kapasi, seduced by Mrs. Das’s description of his job as “romantic,” begins fantasizing about Mrs. Das.
When they stop for lunch, Mrs. Das insists that Mr. Kapasi sit with them. He does, and Mr. Das takes their picture together. Mrs. Das gets Mr. Kapasi’s address so that she can send him a copy of the picture, and Mr. Kapasi begins to daydream about how they will have a great correspondence that will, in a way, finally fulfill his dreams of being a diplomat between countries. He imagines the witty things he will write to her and how she will reveal the unhappiness of her marriage.
At the temple, Mrs. Das talks with Mr. Kapasi as they stare at friezes of women in erotic poses. Mr. Kapasi admires her legs and continues to dream about their letters. Dreading taking the Dases back to their hotel, he suggests that they go see a nearby monastery, and they agree. When they arrive, the place is swarming with monkeys. Mr. Kapasi tells the children and Mr. Das that the monkeys are not dangerous as long as they are not fed.
Mrs. Das stays in the car because her legs are tired. She sits in the front seat next to Mr. Kapasi and confesses to him that her younger son, Bobby, is the product of an affair she had eight years ago. She slept with a friend of Mr. Das’s who came to visit while she was a lonely housewife, and she has never told anyone about it. She tells Mr. Kapasi because he is an interpreter of maladies and she believes he can help her. Mr. Kapasi’s crush on her begins to evaporate. Mrs. Das reveals that she no longer loves her husband, whom she has known since she was a young child, and that she has destructive impulses toward her children and life. She asks Mr. Kapasi to suggest some remedy for her pain. Mr. Kapasi, insulted, asks her whether it isn’t really just guilt she feels. Mrs. Das gets out of the car and joins her family. As she walks, she drops a trail of puffed rice.
Meanwhile, the children and Mr. Das have been playing with the monkeys. When Mrs. Das rejoins them, Bobby is missing. They find him surrounded by monkeys that have become crazed from Mrs. Das’s puffed rice and are hitting Bobby on the legs with a stick he had given them. Mr. Das accidentally takes a picture in his nervousness, and Mrs. Das screams for Mr. Kapasi to do something. Mr. Kapasi chases off the monkeys and carries Bobby back to his family. Mrs. Das puts a bandage on Bobby’s knee. Then she reaches into her handbag to get a hairbrush to straighten his hair, and the paper with Mr. Kapasi’s address on it flutters away.

Interpreter of Maladies

“Interpreter of Maladies” is told from third-person limited point of view—that is, the story is told by an objective narrator who reveals the perceptions of Mr. Kapasi’s perceptions but not those of the other characters. Events unfold primarily as Mr. Kapasi, not Mrs. Das, sees them. For example, when the characters leave the taxi at the temple, the narrator follows Mr. Kapasi, who walks ahead so as not to disturb Mrs. Das, and does not show us what Mrs. Das is doing until she again enters Mr. Kapasi’s view. Likewise, when Mrs. Das leaves the taxi to take Tina to the bathroom, the narrator stays in the car with Mr. Kapasi, who waits alone while the boys and Mr. Das get out of the car. Even the characters’ names reflect the focus on Mr. Kapasi. Instead of calling Mrs. Das by her first name, Mina, as both her husband and her children do, the narrator refers to her exclusively as Mrs. Das, which is how Mr. Kapasi sees her. Likewise, the narrator does not disclose information that Mr. Kapasi would not know. We do not, for example, ever learn the exact ages of Ronny and Tina. We do, however, hear about how Mr. Kapasi has only two suits, the better of the two is the one he wears in the story.
By using this point of view, Lahiri limits the scope of our knowledge about the Das family and emphasizes the disconnection between Mrs. Das and Mr. Kapasi. Although Mr. Kapasi interprets Mrs. Das’s comments as flattering and even flirtatious, Mrs. Das likely did not intend her comments to be construed this way. Mr. Kapasi wishes for an intimate connection with Mrs. Das, but when she finally does spill her secrets—her affair, her true feelings about her husband, the heated beginning of their relationship—Mr. Kapasi is overwhelmed and disgusted. She was unaware of how crass and inappropriate her revelations would seem to Mr. Kapasi, just as she is oblivious to how insulting it is for her to expect him to have a “cure” for her pain. Mr. Kapasi thinks he and Mrs. Das have a connection because he recognizes in her situation the distant spouse and troubled marriage from his own life. However, any connection between them is only in his mind.