The Nāṭyaśāstra discusses two types of dramatic success: human and divine. What constitutes human success is clear: the play achieves human success when a part of a performance is immediately appreciated by spectators for its beauty or exhibition of skill. But the prominent indication of divine success is silence. How can we make sense of this silence? What is it that makes divine success divine? I argue regarding this intriguing but underexplored concept that the two kinds of success connote different yet interdependent levels of interpretation of the play. On the level of human success, spectators engage with the individual parts of the play, while, on the level of divine success, they engage with the play as an aesthetic whole. I propose that the metaphor of "divinity" suggests that the beauty or success of a performance consists in the nonmethodically, nonmechanically, intuitively synthesized, and inherently meaningful harmony among the play's parts.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 24-39
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.