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VILLAIN OR VICTIM?

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            “Is Lady Macbeth a villain or a victim? Can she be heralded as a robust antagonist or a character passive in the face of misfortune trapped within her own ambitious ring?”, she set the topic of discussion for the day among a small group of literature enthusiasts before leaving office after the day’s work.

              After a short while, Mr Rao bending to the latter view said, “I consider ‘fate’ responsible for her ultimate consequences”. “Literature however has given innumerable instances proving the ultimate dilemma of ambitious ladies, be it Lady Macbeth or Eustacia Vye. That was perhaps being repaid for all their misdeeds in life”, said Mrs. Mehra, the most senior in the group, supporting the former view. Refuting the view held by Mrs. Mehra she said, “ Lady Macbeth should be sharing in Macbeth’s glory as king after the execution of her plans as she would be queen, but Lady Macbeth is tied to Macbeth’s actions, and did not benefit from them. Lady Macbeth is a victim to herself because she tries to force a character change and losses sight of her identity. She tries to have a sense of duality from bouncing around the lines of being a human and a monster. Her indecisiveness is what leads to Lady Macbeth’s own downfall as she wants to play both sides but can’t commit to either identity. It is how she can be blamed in every situation but also has no real hand in anything that had happened. Her character in itself is lost, and if you can’t find yourself you become the victim and the villain to yourself just as Lady Macbeth character symbolizes.” Mrs Mehra’s displeasure was clear from the expressional transformation of her face, after hearing this justification. Avoiding unprecedented turn of events, she added that getting deeper into this matter would engage the entire night and that they would return to this topic the next day. Hence, sipping perhaps the last cup of tea, she drew a conclusion to the day’s discussion at office and headed towards home. On her way back on the lonely lane, she mused the last few lines of Frost’s poem, “…And miles to go before I sleep / And miles to go before I sleep”. She felt determined that she had yet a long way to travel, walk a long distance to enlighten such minds as Mrs. Mehras. The discussion, however, at the end of the day had rendered her Heart and Soul to be rather energized for the walk down the lane on her way back home, despite the day being a hot midsummer afternoon. However, deep down her heart she feared the Destiny of such characters, for she too had dared to be ambitious. She had denied the patriarchal dominance and wished for a blooming independent life with petals of self-esteem- the reason why she had been banished from home. 

                The heat intensity of the gleaming bright sun up in the sky made the lane through which she passed completely devoid of humans except an approaching bike. The bike slowed down gradually and finally halted near her and so did her steps. Within an instant she was surrounded from all sides by unknown faces. They clutched her hands tightly and pressing her mouth dragged her into a nearby van on the opposite side of the lane. The van was already packed with more men all snarling at her. Unknown to the route, and confirmed of their evil   notions, she tried with all her might to free herself from their clutches but without success. She fought till the last point hoping someone to come to her rescue. She was deported to an unknown land, very unfamiliar and very lonely. Being terrorised she realised the futility of all her fights and so she utilised her last weapon: she begged for their mercy joining both her hands with incessant tears rolling down her cheeks. Not even a single drop of tear of hers got pitied and she was denied all mercy and for the first time she felt helpless and cursed her freedom! Numerous screams and helpless bang of hands couldn’t fetch a single hand of help in that dire state of hers. She was all alone that day and then…

            When regained senses, she found herself lying on the hospital bed, with blood-soaked bedclothes, with piercing abdominal pain, bandages all over, struggling to restore life from the clutches of death. Occasionally the nurses and doctors came to enquire after her health.  She felt absolutely incapable of any kind of speech so they kept their discussion restricted to themselves. She felt paralysed as she did not have the might for the slightest movement. She tried to recall every incident but was overcome by a sudden feeling of despair and fright. She did not fear death but she was afraid of defeat! Fortunately, the struggle did not last for long because it had to end in death but unfortunately it ended in her defeat as well. However, before letting loose the last thread of life and delving into the eternal peaceful sleep, the fading words of the police commissioner in conversation with other officers came to her ears. He said, ” Ah! It’s the old case, you know. Sooner or later, the fetched Wings of Independent women have to get crushed one day! Why don’t they realise that even after so many reported cases and stop fighting this unequal war, I don’t understand. You know, the more people give up, the less possibilities of war will be there!”

           In the meantime, it was time for her soul to get liberated from all shackles of society. She was to rise higher beyond all boundaries, absolutely free. Also, now, she is to become the broad headline for a few days on all newspaper channels, a much discussed topic on all social media platforms, an issue for protest, without any permanent remedy to the cause though. She is to emerge above all and for all as ‘THE VICTIM’.

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