Symbols and Images in Silence! the Court is in Session
The word symbol derives from the Greek verb symballein, ‘to throw together, and its noun symbolon,’mark’ or ‘sign’. A literary symbol combines an image with a concept. A work may also be structurally symbolic. Tendulkar, like other dramatists of naturalist’ plays, has made use of a small amount of dramatic symbols to create certain dramatic situations.
A clock is found to be out of order. It seems to suggest that the time is out of joint because of the moral lapse of the intellectuals like Prof Damle in the private sphere of the society.
The door latch that hurts Benare at the beginning of the play locks her into the hall where her colleagues behave like enemies torturing her through cross-examinations and giving harsh witnesses against her. It creates a claustrophobic situation symbolizing a no-escape plight for woman.
Samant’s act of showing how the magic takes place through tongue-cutting seems to suggest that it is Samant who will unwittingly create magic by reading a portion from a sensational novel because the set piece from the novel would resemble Benare’s affairs with Prof Damle in her real life. Once the love-affair is exposed in the public, Benare’s colleagues will have the chance of silencing her voice of protest against their interference into her personal life. It is almost like the act of cutting tongue. She will have tongue but it will be made inactive by the strokes of the judge’s gavel.
- Silence! The Court is in Session as a Feminist Play
- Silence! The Court is in Session as a Social Satire
Again there are some bird images such as the sparrow, the parrot and the crow. The sparrow symbolizes Benare who wanted to build nest in one’s house but the crow has destroyed it.
The cloth parrot becomes a living parrot at the end of the play. It seems to symbolize Benare’s son whom she will be telling the story of her oppressed life. Samant’s act of putting parrot in front of Benare seems to symbolize a bond between brother and sister because what he was carrying for his nephew is placed for another baby whom he is going to accept as another nephew. This sort of bond grows out of fellow-feeling.
The bond between parrot and sparrow seems to symbolize the bond between mother and son. On the other hand, as Samant emerges as a symbol of modesty and sympathy, the other colleagues of Benare who represent a cross-section of urban middle- class people are transformed into a symbol of cruelty, sadism and malice.
Finally, the play emerges as a symbol of conflict between wed motherhood and unwed motherhood, between tradition-bound mother and liberty loving daughter, between woman’s struggle for emancipation and oppressive patriarchal social customs, between the culture of fellow-feeling and the dominant urban male culture of sadism, between imperialism and enlightenment.
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