Summary and Critical Analysis of the Story “Victory” by Rabindranath Tagore
Summary of Short Story Victory
Shekhar’s interest in the Princess Ajita:
Summary of Short Story Victory : Shekhar was the court poet of Narayan, the king of Amarpur. He composed musical and lyrical love songs and recited them every day in the court. The audience collected in the hall and the ladies in the balcony to hear his songs. The Princess Ajita who was a great admirer of the poet also moved behind the screen. When the tinkling sounds of the anklet bells of the Princess reached the poet’s ears, he was inspired and delighted. Though the poet had never seen the Princess, he loved her deeply and composed his songs to the tune of her golden bells.
His Interest in the Maid: Summary of Short Story Victory
He was equally interested in Manjari, the maid of the Princess. While going to the river, she visited the poet every day and this was not a secret to anyone. The poet used to explain the meaning of her name as ‘the spray of flowers’ in his songs, and the king and the rest of the hearers were amused at it. The Princess and her maid also felt glad at their hearts.
The Theme of His Poetry:
The theme of Shekhar’s song was the eternal love between Radha and Krishna. He sang of their joys and sorrows in love. His songs became very popular. They were on the lips of every one. Thus, Shekhar had nice time in the court.
In those days, there lived in the South a poet of great repute named Pundarik. He wanted to establish himself as the greatest poet of the country. So he set out from his home on his path of conquest. He had challenged all the court poets on his way, and his career of victory had been unbroken. He came to the court of king Narayan, uttered a verse in praise of the king, and challenged his court poet for a poetic duel. The next day was fixed for the poetic contest.
First Day of the Competition:
Since Shekhar had no idea of the poetic battle, he was mentally disturbed and had no sleep at night. In the morning he entered the hall with a trembling heart. Pundarik, on the other hand, was very proud of his learning. He came to the court with his head held high. When the king took his seat in the hall, the competition began. Pundarik rose on his feet proudly and sang poetry loudly in praise of the king. When he gave different meanings of the name of the king, people were amazed at his learning.
When Shekhar’s turn came, he recited a poem in praise of the king expressing his love and loyalty for him. Fixing his looks on the king’s face, he ended the poem saying that he might be beaten in the play of words but not in his love for him. The poem was so powerful that it moved the heart of every listener. People shouted victory of Shekhar.
Pundarik’s Show of Learning:
Pundarik did not admit his defeat. He ridiculed the audiences and Shekhar. He tried to show off his superiority by exhibiting his scholarship. He put up a question to the assembly, “What is the superior to words? “When nobody answered his question, he said that the word was above everything quoting from scriptures in support of his theory. He repeated his question but nobody answered it. The assembly was dismissed for the next morning.
Second Day of the Competition:
On the second day, Shekhar was first to give his song which was about the pipings of love’s flute by Lord Krishna to Radha. The song was so much moving that everybody was lost in ecstasy. Now Pundarik stood up and asked Shekhar to define the lover and the beloved of his song. Then he himself analysed the names of Krishna and Radha with profound wisdom and skill. Everybody was amazed at his learning. People cheered him and held him superior to Shekhar. Shekhar was unmoved. The king looked at him. He wanted to give him one more chance but he did not move from his seat.
Victory of Pundarik:
Shekhar’s silence was taken as acceptance of his defeat. The king announced victory to Pundarik. He garlanded the poet with a chain of pearls. The poet was cheered by people. The audiences left the hall one by one and in the end went Shekhar with a sad heart.
After going back home, Shekhar was so much disheartened that he tore his poems into pieces and set them ablaze. He felt so much disgraced that he had no wish to live in the world any more. So he mixed up poison with a cup of honey, swallowed it and retired to bed never to rise again. Thereafter the Princess Ajita came to his room to console him because she knew that the real victor was Shekhar, not Pundarik. It was too late then because his blood was poisoned and his mind was beyond his control. However, when he felt the presence of the Princess by his side, he opened his eyes and sat upon the bed to take leave of the Princess. Coming closer to him, the Princess said that she had come to crown him with victory. She took off her garland and placed it on the poet’s hair. The poet fell dead on his bed.
Critical Analysis of the Story: “Victory” by Rabindranath Tagore
A Literary Story:
‘The Victory’ is a moving and literary story in which Rabindranath Tagore has attempted to show that the real genius of a poet lies in the expression of his powerful feelings and emotions , not in the display of his learning and the play on words . Shekhar who is a poet in the real sense has been defeated by a pedant, Pundarik because the latter is able to impress the listeners with the show of his learning.
The plot of the story unfolded well. It has a beginning, middle and an end. The story begins with the activities of the court poet, Shekhar whose duty was to entertain the king and his courtiers with his songs. It reaches the middle when Pundarik comes to the court and challenges Shekhar to a poetic duel. It comes to the end with the defeat and suicide of Shekhar. Thus, the plot of the story is well built.
There are five characters in the story, namely the king Narayan, the Princess Ajita, her maid Manjari, the court poet Shekhar and Pundarik. All these characters are quite alive. They have flesh and blood vitality. However, the prominent characters are two — Shekhar and Pundarik. They have been presented as rivals and foils to each other. Both of them have been portrayed well.
Language and Style:
The language used in the story is very simple yet poetic. The style is graceful, lucid and natural.
The title of the story is very significant because it is concerned with the victory of both the poets in a poetic contest. The entire story moves round the same theme and comes to the end with the victory of both the poets. The title of the story is , therefore , quite appropriate and justified .
The story has a lesson for those who are engaged in creative writing. The creative artists should not feel disheartened if they do not get a success in the beginning. They have to struggle long for their name, fame and victory.
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