This essay explores arguments regarding self-deception and self-cultivation, primarily relying on Abhinavagupta’s (eleventh century) philosophy of theatrics. Abhinava’s aesthetic theory has much to say on these issues because performance art requires at least a two-tiered breach of subjectivity and intersubjective introspection, between the audience and the performer and the performer and the character that he is playing. The lead argument questions to what extent the actors are aware of their own personality and how much they merge with the character, followed by an examination of the extent to which the audience breaches its own subjective horizon and enters the imagined subjective domain of the character. Finally, this essay seeks to answer whether this fusion and play of subjectivities is, after all, a wholesome and enlightening experience.


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pp. 104-121
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