Shakespeare and Kambar

While watching Roméo et Juliette, it occurred to me that there is a likeness between Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and Kambar’s Ram and Sita in Ramayanam. Before Hindutuva groups joins to gang up against me, I ‘m not trying to demand or undermine the divinity of one of the most revered couples in Hindu pantheon. Also, I’ve not read Valmiki’s version. Personally, I feel Romeo is far better a man than Ram at any time for he never questioned his wife’s loyalty while he was away – banished from the kingdom. Coming back to the semblance…• Lamentable tragedy at the end – death in the case of Romeo and Juliet against Sita been taken by her mother, Goddess Earth

• Story was long told before Shakespeare (borrowed from the Italian story – The Tragical History of Romeus and Juiliet by Arthur Brooke in English) or Kambar (Hindu epic retold by Valmiki in Sanskrit)
• High command over the language and the beautiful adaptation by these two authors
• And the least common factor between these two masters is “falling in love at the first sight”

Other than this, I noticed other subtle trails that lead up to the story. Shakespeare calls out to the nature to bring out Romeo’s premonition that something extraordinary is about to happen to change his world upside down as he enters the hall of Capulet’s house.

I fear, too early: for my mind misgives
Some consequence yet hanging in the stars
Shall bitterly begin his fearful date
With this night’s revels and expire the term
Of a despised life closed in my breast
By some vile forfeit of untimely death.
But He, that hath the steerage of my course,
Direct my sail! On, lusty gentlemen.

Kambar effectively uses the grammar construct “இயல்பு நவிற்சி அணி”, adding poet’s thought to a natural incident. It seemed as though the young, spring leaves of Mithila flutter in the air to convey Ram – “City of Mithila is blessed to have Goddess Lakshmi born as Sita who awaits your arrival. Don’t make her wait for a long time. Come as soon as possible.”

மையறு மலரின் நீங்கி, யான் செய் மாதவத்தின் வந்து
செய்யவள் இருந்தாள் என்று செழுமணிக்கொடிகள் என்னும்
கைகளை நீட்டி அந்த கடிநகர், கமலச் செங்கண்
ஐயனை ஒல்லை வாவென்று அழைப்பது போன்றதம்மா !!

Shakespeare claims Juliet, a rich jewel who teaches the torch to burn bright. He adds the way how she stands – a snowy dive amidst crows.

O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear;
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!
So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows,
As yonder lady o’er her fellows shows.
The measure done, I’ll watch her place of stand,
And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand.
Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!
For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.

Kambar says beautiful ladies who wears gold anklets and other ornaments, moves their hips like a lightning bolts, wait on Sita who stand among them like the queen of lightning.

பொன்சேர் மென்கால் கிண்கிணி ஆரம் புனை ஆரம்
கொன்சேர் அல்குல் மேகலை தாங்கும் கோடி அன்னார்
தன்சேர் கோலத்து இன் எழில் காண
சதகோடி மின் சேவிக்க மின் அரசு என்னும்படி நின்றாள்

Shakespeare portrays the intense passion of Romeo and Juliet in a saint-sin word play.

If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.

Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take.
Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.

Then have my lips the sin that they have took.

Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged!
Give me my sin again.

You kiss by the book.

Kambar portrays the intense passion with sheer eye contact – their eyes met and caught as though they eat one another, thus their feelings merge into the oneness.

எண்ண அரு நலத்தினாள் இனையள் நின்றுழி,
கண்ணொடு கண் இணை கவ்வி, ஒன்றை ஒன்று
உண்ணவும், நிலைபெறாது உணர்வும் ஒன்றிட,
அண்ணலும் நோக்கினான்; அவளும் நோக்கினாள்

Il n’y a qu’un bonheur dans la vie, c’est d’aimer et d’être aimé…

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