Shakuntala

Durvasas Character Analysis

Durvasas is a hot-tempered sage who visits the hermitage, then places a curse on Shakuntala and King Dusyanta because Shakuntala, distracted by her new husband’s absence and her pregnancy, fails to welcome him with appropriate formality. Durvasas’s curse causes Dusyanta to forget Shakuntala and the fact that they’re married, with the exception that if the King sees a memento, such as his signet ring, the curse will be lifted.

Durvasas Quotes in Shakuntala

The Shakuntala quotes below are all either spoken by Durvasas or refer to Durvasas. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Natural World, The Body, and Spiritual Beauty Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford University Press edition of Shakuntala published in 2008.
Act 4 Quotes

OFF-STAGE VOICE. So, you slight a guest, do you?

That man whose brilliance
Robs your thought of everything, including me,
A great ascetic fired by penance—
That man, though prompted,
Shall not remember you at all,
Like a drunken sot, who cannot recall
What he said in his cups the night before.

PRIYAMVADA. Ah! What a disaster! Absent-minded Shakuntala has offended someone she should have welcomed. [Looking ahead] And not just anyone—it’s the great sage Durvasas—short-tempered’s not the word! Now he’s cursed her, spun on his heel, and shot off like a flaming arrow!

Related Characters: Durvasas (speaker), Priyamvada (speaker), Shakuntala
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 5 Quotes

KING [staring at Shakuntala; to himself].

They offer me this flawless girl…
Could I have married her? I no longer know.
Like a bee mithering at dawn
Round a jasmine soaked in dew,
I can neither approach her, nor go.

[He remains thinking]

Doorkeeper [to herself]. Ah, duty always comes first for my lord. Who else would hesitate, faced with such a free and beautiful offer?

SARNGARAVA. So, king, why do you remain silent?

KING. Ascetics, however hard I try, I don’t remember marrying this lady. So how can I accept her when she’s obviously pregnant, and I have no reason to believe it’s anything to do with me?

Related Characters: King Dusyanta (speaker), Sarngarava (speaker), Doorkeeper (speaker), Shakuntala, Durvasas
Related Symbols: Bees
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Act 7  Quotes

MARICA. When Menaka came to Aditi, transporting her daughter from the nymphs' ford in such obvious distress, I saw, in meditation, that you had rejected your forest wife because of a curse, spoken by Durvasas. I saw too that the curse would lift when you caught sight of this ring.

KING [sighing with relief]. So—I am not to blame.

SHAKUNTALA [to herself]. It's good to know my husband didn't reject me for no reason at all. And yet I don't remember being cursed. Or perhaps it fell unnoticed through the emptiness of separation that engulfed me then. My friends did urge me to show the ring to my husband.

MARICA. Daughter, now you know the truth. Feel no resentment towards your lord:

When his memory was cursed,
Your husband was cruel to you,
But that darkness has lifted
And your power's renewed;
The mirror was tarnished,
The image obscure,
But with polishing
It all becomes clear.

Related Characters: Shakuntala (speaker), King Dusyanta (speaker), Marica (speaker), Durvasas
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Durvasas Character Timeline in Shakuntala

The timeline below shows where the character Durvasas appears in Shakuntala. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 4
Duty vs. Love Theme Icon
Prophecies and Curses Theme Icon
Concealment and Separation Theme Icon
They hear a visitor announcing himself. It’s Durvasas, a short-tempered sage. They hear him pronouncing a curse: “That man, though prompted, / Shall... (full context)
Duty vs. Love Theme Icon
Prophecies and Curses Theme Icon
Concealment and Separation Theme Icon
...even send a letter, worrying that he’s faithless after all, or has been affected by Durvasas’s curse. She also fears how Kanva will react now that Shakuntala is carrying Dusyanta’s child. (full context)
Act 7 
Duty vs. Love Theme Icon
Prophecies and Curses Theme Icon
Concealment and Separation Theme Icon
...not to blame himself, and tells Shakuntala not to resent him—it was all because of Durvasas’s curse. (full context)