(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal
Devoted to English Language and Literature)
Abnish Singh Chauchan. William Shakespeare: King Lear. Faizabad: Bhavdiya Prakashan, 2016. First Published in 2005. Pp. 608. Price: Rs.148/- (Paperback). ISBN: 978-9385893018.
Reviewed by Madhu Bala Saxena
Dr Abnish Singh Chauhan, without any break, is increasing the number of quality books by his creative talent both in English and Hindi languages. ‘William Shakespeare: King Lear’ is one such book of Dr Singh. He has interpreted this book keeping its utility to the students of English literature and lovers of Shakespeare’s dramas.
The close study of the book exhibits that King Lear, one of the most powerful tragic plays of William Shakespeare, has a double plot— a main plot and a sub-plot. The main plot deals with the story of King Lear and his three daughters— Goneril, Regan and Cordelia, whereas the sub-plot presents the tale of the Earl of Gloucester and his two sons— Edgar and Edmund. Both the plots clearly communicate the theme of filial ingratitude— Lear is first duped by the false praise of his two eldest daughters for usurping the whole kingdom and then tortured and led to insanity by their wicked behaviours, while Gloucester is deceived by his bastard son Edmund, which becomes the cause of parental enmity and bitterness in the long run. Concomitantly, the disheritance of Cordelia, the banishment and servile existence of Kent, Edgar’s aching journey on the heath in the state of feigned madness, the terrible sufferings of King Lear and the inhuman blinding of old Gloucester sadly take place in its dramatic world leading to the unexpected deaths of innocent Cordelia— the only daughter who comes to rescue her father, gullible Gloucester and aged Lear at the end of the play.
Knowing the complexities of the plots and other essentials of the play, Dr Abnish Singh has wisely divided the book into four parts. In the first section, he has given the general introduction, which includes life, age, works and art of William Shakespeare. The second section introduces the readers with drama King Lear— its date of composition, sources, duration of action, dramatis personae, plot-construction and act-wise summary along with the critical comments of scholars on the drama. Both these sections are very important for the students as they provide general knowledge about William Shakespeare, the greatest English dramatist of the world and his dramatic art; because without being acquainted with the writer’s life, literary output, artistic caliber and so on, a student cannot understand his book. In the next portion of the book, a prudent study of the book King Lear has been done with text, notes and paraphrase in English and translation in Hindi. The systematic interpretation of the drama— first text, then meaning of difficult words, then paraphrase in English and in the last the Hindi version is really appreciating and engaging too. Allusions and references have also been included in the book for the better understanding of the play. After that, in the next part, a critical interpretation of all the five acts and scenes has been done. Some very important explanations, important long questions, short answer type questions, multiple objective type questions and bibliography have been attached in the end of the book.
The book has been written systematically in an easy, straightforward and lucid language. The readers will neither have any problem in understanding the drama, nor will wander in search of a helping hand that can explain it. Everything is available in the book. As far as the cost of the book is concerned, it is very low-priced, which can be paid by all. Therefore, the book deserves its place in the libraries of all schools (CBSE, ICSE, and States Boards), colleges and universities of the country. There is much need of such books now-a-days. I wish that Dr Abnish must continue his mission of penning such rare books so that they might reach to the scholars of English language and literature.
Dr. Madhu Bala Saxena (1953) worked as Professor and Head of English Department of IFTM University, Moradabad and Associate Professor and Head of English Department of M.H.P.G. College, Moradabad, U.P. She is M.A. in Sanskrit and English and her doctoral degree in English is on ‘Treatment of Human Relations in the Novels of Somerset Maugham.’ She has been writing research papers and book reviews for various journals and magazines and guiding research scholars of English Literature for the last thirty five years. Her main interest lies in Indian Literature in English, particularly in Indian English Fiction. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.