Rasa Theory in Shakespearian Tragedies  book cover
1st Edition

Rasa Theory in Shakespearian Tragedies

ISBN 9780367634421
Published May 30, 2022 by Routledge
176 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book adds a unique eastern perspective to the ever growing corpus of Shakespeare criticism. The ancient Sanskrit theory of Rasa – the aesthete’s emotional response to performing artsis explicated in detail and applied to Shakespeare’s tragic masterpieces. Bharata, who wrote about Rasa in the Natyasastra, developed detailed guidelines for the communication of emotion from author to actor and then to the audience culminating in a sublime aesthetic experience. Though chronologically Bharata is as ancient as Aristotle, thematically, his ideas are as relevant today as Aristotle’s is and often echo those of the Greek master. This cross–cultural study on the communication of emotions in art establishes that emotions are universal and their communication follows similar patterns in all climes. The Rasa theory is today applied to modern media like film and has found a place among audience centric communication theories. This volume extends the East-West dialogue in aesthetic theory by identifying parallels and points of deviation and delights both aesthete and critic alike.

Table of Contents


  1. The Universality of Indian Aesthetic Theories
  2. The Concept of Rasa
  3. Hamlet : Jugupsa Intensifying Karuṇa
  4. Othello : Uttamaprakṛti transformed by śanka to Adhamaprakṛti
  5. King Lear : From Rage (Raudra) to Redemption (Śānta)
  6. Macbeth : Bhaya Unfolding Karuṇa
  7. Conclusion


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Swapna Koshy is an award winning professor and researcher who engages in communication research focusing on media, marketing and business communication. She also contributes to pedagogical studies and has developed innovative models for assessment. Dr. Koshy has degrees in English Language and Literature, Business Management and Strategic Marketing and graduated at the top of her class in all courses. She has received a Vice Chancellor’s citation for Outstanding Contribution to Teaching and Learning and awards for Teaching and Research Excellence, Assessment Design and Leadership. Her industry experience includes stints with film, radio and television.