SHAKESPEARE IN TAMIL VEDA TIRUKKURAL- Part 1 (Post No.4423)

Written by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 22 NOVEMBER 2017

 

Time uploaded in London- 20-58

 

 

Post No. 4423

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks.

 

WHAT IS TIRUKKURAL?

Tirukkural is a book of ethics in Tamil. Tirukkural means a ‘book of sacred couplets’. It has 1330 couplets divided into 133 chapters. It is divided into three sections dealing with Dharma (Virtue), Artha (wealth) and Kama (Love between man and woman). It was written by Tiruvalluvar, who lived approximately 1500 years before our time. The book is praised as Tamil Veda by his contemporaries. All the Hindu ideals are incorporated into the book. Some of the couplets can be compared with the sayings of Shakespeare.

 

Who is Shakespeare?

Shakespeare (1564-1616) was an English dramatist and poet. He wrote 37 plays and over 150 poems. His quotations are used very often in English essays and other literary articles. Tiruvalluvar and Shakespeare agree on many issues. When one reads them one thinks that the famous saying ‘Great men think alike’ is proved once again.

Here are some comparisons culled out from various books:

Compassion and Mercy

Tiruvalluvar says

Those who are merciful are really the men of virtue

because they have compassion for all living creature (Kural 30)

In the Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare say that people with mercy are the real sages of the world.

 

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:

‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown;

His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,

The attribute to awe and majesty,

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;

But mercy is above this sceptred sway;

It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,

It is an attribute to God Himself;

And earthly power doth then show likest God’s

When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,

Though justice be thy plea, consider this,

That in the course of justice, none of us

Should see salvation. We do pray for mercy;

And that same prayer doth teach us all to render

The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much

To mitigate the justice of thy plea;

Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice

Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there.

 

(Portia in The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene 1)

Chastity

Tiruvalluvar says

Of what avail is watch and ward? A woman’s will

is the best safeguard of her honour (Kural 57)

Prison walls, pad-locks and chastity belts are absolutely of no use to ensure a woman’s chastity. Her own conscience and inner strength will alone keep her really pure.

Sakespeare says,

“My chastity is the jewel of our house bequeathed down from many ancestors”

DIANA.
I see that men make hopes in such a case,
That we’ll forsake ourselves. Give me that ring.

BERTRAM.
I’ll lend it thee, my dear, but have no power
To give it from me.

DIANA.
Will you not, my lord?

BERTRAM.
It is an honour ‘longing to our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
Which were the greatest obloquy i’ the world
In me to lose.

DIANA.
Mine honour’s such a ring:
My chastity’s the jewel of our house,
Bequeathed down from many ancestors;
Which were the greatest obloquy i’ the world
In me to lose. Thus your own proper wisdom
Brings in the champion honour on my part
Against your vain assault.

All is well that ends well, Act 4, Scene 2

 

Wife,The Helpmate

Tiruvalluvar says,

If a man’s wife does not bring him credit and honour, he cannot walk

with proud leonine gait in the face of his distractors- (Kural 59)

 

Shakespeare says,

‘A light wife doth make a heavy husband’

-The Merchant of Venice, Act 5, Scene 1

 

It is a sarcastic remark.

It’s a pun (a play on words to make a joke) because “light” and “heavy” have many meanings.

“A light wife” is an adulteress.
We also say someone is “heavy” if they carry an emotional burden, e.g. an unfaithful wife.

Light and heavy most commonly refer to the weight of something and are opposites, as are husband and wife, as are an unfaithful and faith spouse.

Enter BASSANIO, ANTONIO, GRATIANO, and their Followers.
  Bass.  We should hold day with the Antipodes,
If you would walk in absence of the sun.
  Por.  Let me give light, but let me not be light;         145
For a light wife doth make a heavy husband,
And never be Bassanio so for me:
But God sort all! You are welcome home, my lord.
  Bass.  I thank you, madam. Give welcome to my friend:
This is the man, this is Antonio,         150
To whom I am so infinitely bound.

 

–to be continued

 

–Subham–

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