Rabindranath Tagore’s Narrative of a Woman with a Desiring Gaze: Chitra (70552)

Session Information: Literature, Literary Studies and Theory
Session Chair: Eiko Ohira

Friday, 22 September 2023 12:15
Session: Session 2
Room: Gracia
Presentation Type:Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 2 (Europe/Madrid)

Gender studies have clarified that many cultures see female sexual hunger as threatening. Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was a pioneer in dealing with female sexuality at a time when a Indian society suppressed female sexuality. In no other writer’s work in the late 19th and early 20th century can we find so many different kinds of women in love and rebellion. Here I would like to focus on Chitra (1892), a drama based on the Mahabharata, in which Tagore delineates how Chitra, the daughter of the King of Manipur is overwhelmed by her burning desire for Arjuna, and how she obtains his love. Chitra has been brought up like a son with no inferiority complex about her plainness. However, after she falls for Arjune she feels herself ”a woman” for the first time in her life, and experiences her first fear. She asks the Lord of Love to give her a body of perfect beauty. Chitra uses her body as a tool to allure Arjuna. Her beauty captures his heart. However, she suffers in her alienation from her true self. She asks the Lord of Love to give back her true body, and finally obtains his respect. The story focuses on Chitra's quest for her true self through passionate love. Tagore showed how a woman experiences the otherness within herself. He also constructed a new image of the female body with a desiring gaze, an eroticized body suppressed by patriarchal control.

    

Authors:
Eiko Ohira, Otusma University, Japan


About the Presenter(s)
Professor Eiko Ohira is a University Professor/Principal Lecturer at Otusma University in Japan

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00