An Adventure into Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra and The Winter’s Tale: An Ecocritical Reading

By:
Sumana Biswas,
Prof. Madhumalati Adhikari
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It cannot be denied that whatever is being produced/ contrived in the bailiwicks of science, technology, economics, history, literature, sociology and various other branches of knowledge, environment and ecology play a predominant role. In our pursuit of analyzing literary presentations, despite their chronological and generic diversities, one is able to perceive that man’s function and placement in relation to eco-environ has always been that of a preserver, conserver, exploiter and destroyer. Only the degrees of the defined roles have varied depending upon the fluctuating temperament/ perspective of man towards the environment.

The proposed enterprise concentrates upon reading Shakespeare’s plays, Antony and Cleopatra (1608) and TheWinter’s Tale (1611) in the enormous multidimensional matrix of ecology, the science dealing in the relationship between the organism and the environment. It makes an attempt to evaluate the position and function of the characters in both positive and negative angles with respect to their interconnectedness with ecological phenomena. In Antony and Cleopatra, the sole setting is the man-made society. Therefore, though we do not confront any remarkable direct association between humans and Nature, yet indirect and allusive relation between the two gets mirrored. In The Winter’s Tale, irrespective of an active courtly scenario, we experience Nature as the predominant environmental backdrop. Hence, direct Man-Nature confrontation is evinced. It has highlighted through the study of both plays not only the global and incessant domination, exploitation and abrogation of woman and of ecological sphere but also the elevated association of her astounding properties with those of Nature. Similarly, man’s characteristics too have not remained marginalized from being associated with the gigantic, aggressive, chauvinistic, vibrant, vigorous versatility of the ecological environment they belong to. Man’s continuous process of creating and generating, woman’s chief identity as a reproducing agent, both as maintenance workers in myriad hues, get reflected in the plays.

The ecocritical dissection of the plays simultaneously project a mosaic of the following factors: exploitation and conservation of ecosystem by both genders; practical and symbolic significance of ecosystem in human lives; embracement and overthrow of humans by Nature; interrelatedness and interdependence among the humans and their environment; submissiveness and silent submission of human beings; the dominating, and usurping tendency of both man and woman; the strength, the success, potency, incompetence and failure of the both; and many more.


Keywords: Shakespeare, Ecocritical Adventure, Antony and Cleopatra, The Winter’s Tale
Stream: Other or Stream Unspecified
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Adventure into Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra and the Winter’s Tale, An


Sumana Biswas

Research Scholar, Department of English, Rani Durgavati University
Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India

Sumana Biswas is born on 04.07.1975. She has done her M.A. in English Literature from Rani Durgavati Vishwavidalaya. Her subject of specialization during her Masters has been British Literature and Shakespeare. She has completed her M.Phil degree in English Literature from the same University. Her topic of M.Phil dissertation is "Images Of Women in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and Measure For Measure: A Feminist Appraisal". At present she is pursuing Ph.D in the same University and the topic is "Ecocritical Evaluation of Shakespeare’s Comedies and Tragedies". At present she has one publication titled, “Myriad Hues of Protest and Tumultuous Aftermath in V.S. Naipaul’s Guerrillas” in press for Protest in Indian Fiction in English. Her fields of interest are Shakespearean Literature, Contemporary Literature, Indian Literature, Feminism, Eco-feminism, Ecocriticism, Colonialism, Post colonialism, and other Socio-critical theories.

Prof. Madhumalati Adhikari

Guest Professor (Former Head of the Department of English), Department of English, Rani Durgavati University
Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India

Prof. Madhumalati Adhikari had been the Professor and Head in the Dpartment of PG Studies and Research in English, Rani Durgavati Vishwavidyalaya, Jabalpur. She has retired in December 2003 and now works as an honorary professor at IIITDM, Jabalpur. She holds 27 years of teaching experience. Simultaneously, she has participated in 8 international seminars/ conferences along with 18 national ones, beside 2 workshops. She holds the credit of having written and edited the following books: 1) WS. Maugham and His Fictional Characters; 2) A student’s handbook for Writing Research/ Term Papers; 3) Book edited: Environmental Awareness (compulsory Text Book for BA. / B.Sc. /B.Com. / B.H.Sc. III rd year, Foundation Course) published by Madhya Pradesh Hindi Granth Academy. Besides, she has 38 National published research papers and 2 international published research papers, to add to her credit. She is Co-editor of literary journals: Points of View and Vishleshana She has worked on British, American, African-American, Canadian and Indian English authors. Her analytical approach is dynamic and multidimensional. Her works and papers concentrate upon various socio-political, historical, philosophical, feminist, socio-economic, cultural, colonial, postcolonial, ecocritical and other modern and post modern theories.

Ref: I06P0137