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A Reluctant Master Girish Karnad says that, though the English writers and the thought of writing in English influenced him, it was unknowingly that he became a playwright and started writing in Kannada. 'Yakshagana', the traditional folk theatre of Karnataka, influenced him. Karnad's plays, Yayathi, Hayavadana, Tughlag, and Nagamandala certainly reveal this influence. Two Folktales and a Play The play Naga Mandala is based on two folk-tales of Kannada. It was first staged at the University of Chicago. Karnad says: The energy for the folk-theatre comes from the fact that although it seems to uphold traditional values, it also has the means of questioning these values. The various conventions- the chorus, the music, the seemingly unrelated…show more content…
Do as you are told, you understand? (Nagamandala 39). Rani leads a secluded life and then Kurudavva saves her. It is only she who understands Rani's real problem. Kurudavva gives two small roots to Rani and asks her to mix it in Appanna's food. It is believed that, by taking the root, Appanna will not go and visit with the concubine again. She says: KURUDAVVA: Once he gets even the smell of yours he won't go after that concubine. (Nagamandala 261) The first root has no effect on Appanna. Rani takes a bigger root, and when she mixes it in the curry it becomes bloody red. She actually curses herself for trying to give this to Appanna. She says: RANI: Suppose it harms my husband, what will happen to me? (Nagamandala 387). She spills it on a nearby anthill. A snake living in the anthill instantly falls in love with Rani. The snake in the myth is believed to be a symbol of fertility. The snake takes the shape of Appanna and has sexual communion with Rani. It is through the snake that Rani understands the meaning and passion of love in marital life. When the real Appana finds that she is pregnant, he calls her a "whore." Appanna asks: APPANNA: Don't you feel ashamed to admit that you are pregnant, you whore? (Nagamandala 753) Rani is asked by the village leaders to perform the ordeal of holding the hot iron rod to demonstrate that she is a chaste woman and faithful to her hushand. The snake advises her to perform the ordeal of holding the snake

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