The Bee Scene from “Sakuntala and the Ring of Recollection”
There are 2 major themes in the following scene with King Dushyanta, Sakuntala, her 2 friends and the bee. The first theme is about proper court etiquette and contains a sub theme, which focuses on how it impacts the scene and the king. The second theme is about Sakuntala and how this scene sets up her for who she is as a person and how it affects the rest of the play.
The first major theme that occurs during this passage is the idea of proper courtly etiquette and how it actually plays a role here. The scene opens with the Sakuntala being startled by a bee and King Dushyanta watching from afar the three girls. However, due to him being king, it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to approach and he stays back and more or less analyzes the situation. King Dushyanta is held back by this invisible wall that restricts him in ways in which he can only interact with them and show his respect for them by conforming to the norms of society and refraining from interfering. What makes matters worse is while he is restricted the creature of the scene, the bee, is right in there flying around like its no big deal. To the bee, it really isn’t that big of a deal. The bee, as well, exists in its own norms as well but it gets to be next to Sakuntala when and how it pleases to do so. Dushyanta envies the bee because it gets to be near Sakuntala. He wants to be near her but because he is the king and they are three un-escorted women, he dare not go near them. It would be a disgrace for him to do so.
There is an interesting response that comes from him. While Dushyanta shares a jealously for the bee he also shares a respect for the bee. The bee is where he wants to be. The bee gets to enjoy her presence but also has her attention. Dushyanta sees this and yet he praises the bee “while the truth we seek defeats us, you are truly blessed.” He calls the bee blessed for being able to be in her presence while he must watch...