Shakespeare’s plays are known for their preamble. It kindles the curiosity of the reader with regard to the happenings. In Macbeth, the minister sees three angels. The three angels foretell that he would soon become the king. They then assure him that he would meet with death only at the hands of the one who was not born off the womb of a woman. They give a further assurance, naming a particular forest, that only if this forest moved would he meet with death. All these three statements are uncommon happenings. How would he become the king? How would a person not born off a woman’s womb kill him? And finally how can a forest move? All these are said initially, before the story, thus kindling the curiosity and creating anxiety in the minds of the reader. An introduction of this style is given and then the actual happenings shown.
‘Silapadikram’ of Ilango Adigal also holds such a style. Shakespeare has pronounced the happenings more openly and not subtly. Macbeth kills the king and his wife at a dinner party. Shakespeare makes a statement here, ‘No sleep any more!’ What is the importance of this statement? This can be attributed to all the characters in this play! The king has died, so there is no more sleep for him. The queen has died, so there is no more sleep for her. The killer has no sleep due to the fear of being caught. The man of the house where the incident has taken place would have no sleep if he were to learn of the incident. Thus, this applies to all the characters in the play!
In ‘Lagnashtaka’, the groom is said to be the very form (’swaroopa’) of Mahavishnu and the bride that of Mahalakshmi. But, in ‘Silapadikaram’, Illango Adigal writes, while describing Kannagi, “She seemed like Saraswati!” Saraswati wears white saree and Illango Adigal subtly points out that Kannagi was going to be widowed (Hindu widows wear white). Nobody speaks of Saraswati at the time of marriage but here Illango Adigal uses her name. In many places in ‘Silapadikaram’, he subtly speaks of future happenings. Normally, in a play a man is described as one full of valour or charitable nature. But, here Kovalan is described as one who has ’strees’ (ladies) around him always. Even at the outset, the author points out this vice in him. While Kovalan goes to the city with an anklet of Kannagi (to sell), the flags atop the castle walls were flying wildly as if forbidding him to enter the city.
One can find such innumerable writings in Tamizh.
(The above is an excerpt from a discourse of Sri Sri Swamiji)