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HomeLifestyleWas Shakespeare related to India?

Was Shakespeare related to India?

May 13, 2024

Aakanksha Sharma

The master writer- Shakespeare

The ‘Bard of Avon’ and the ‘Father of Modern English Literature’, Shakespeare is a man who donned many hats. From a successful playwright to a beautiful and master poet, he excelled in it all.

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​Early information

As per what people know and the information available online, Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom, on April 23, 1564. So, if that is clear, how was Shakespeare related to India?

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​Connection to India

Born and brought up in the UK, Shakespeare still had a connection with India and that connection is visible in his plays, sonnets, and the fact that his first act was performed on a ship which later formed its connection to India.

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​First reaches in Bengal

When India became a British colony, the elites were the ones who understood Shakespeare’s plays. According to a research paper, ‘Shakespeare Comes to Bengal’ by Sukanta Chaudhari “In the eastern Indian region of Bengal, contact with Shakespeare began in the eighteenth century.”

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​The third voyage

Back in 1607 the East India company sent its third voyage to search for the Indian mainland. And, it is believed, that it was on this ship that Shakespeare’s play ‘Hamlet’ was first performed for an audience.

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​Shakespeare’s mention of India’s wealth

In his play ‘King Henry VI’, Shakespeare remarks “My crown is in my heart, not on my head; not decked with diamonds and Indian stones, nor to be seen: my crown is called content, a crown it is that seldom kings enjoy.”

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​Shakespeare in ‘Troilus and Cressida’

In his tragedy play ‘Troilus and Cressida’, Shakespeare wrote, – “Her bed is in India, there she lies, a pearl.”

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​India in ‘Merchant of Venice’

In Act 3, scene 2 of ‘Merchant of Venice’, Shakespeare wrote “Thus ornament is but the guiled shore/To a most dangerous sea, the beauteous scarf/ Veiling an Indian beauty…”

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Indian adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays

As much as Shakespeare was in awe of India and her grandeur, India too has made adaptations of his plays. For example, ‘Angoor’ was inspired by ‘Comedy of Errors’, ‘Haider’ was inspired by ‘Hamlet’, etc.

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Thanks For Reading!

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