Tuesday, November 11, 2014

‘The Vendetta’ ,a story & ‘Yousuf’,a poem – a study in contrast.

Lately  I  have read a story ‘The  Vendetta’ by  Guy de Maupassant  in  which  the main character  is an old lady, the widow  of  Paulo Saverini . It so happens that   her son, Antoine  gets killed  by one  Nicholas Ravolati  after a dispute  and the widow left alone   full of sorrow and sadness , spends  sleepness nights  thinking of ways to avenge the   murder of her son. She has a  shepherd dog called Semillante . An idea strikes her and  she experiments  by starving   the dog  and making him attack  a dummy. The result is encouraging as the hungry  dog  pounces upon the dummy  and  mauls it completely. After a few days she again starves  the dog and  disguised as an old man,  takes it to the  village  of   Nicholas Ravolati, the murderer of her son. She calls out  to him by name and when he comes out , she lets the dog loose and  motions it to attack  Nicholas, who  in a short while makes a short work of  the murderer . Having  completed her mission , she returns to her  house  and  sleeps well .
In contrast, I am reminded of  a poem  ‘ Yousuf ‘ which I read in school. Since this was  more than four decades ago, I have forgotten the name of the poet , and  unfortunatelu even the Google has been of no help in tracing  the poem and the poet. Yousouf, a man of God,  welcomes a stranger  to his home  for the night and the stranger, overwhelmed  by  the  hospitality  and  burdened  with guilt  discloses the  fact that he is the murderer of  Yousuf’s son . To his utter surprise, Yousuf  instead of  abusing him or  cursing him,  gives him  money  and  asks  him to  get away at once  before the  feeling of revenge gets the better of him . In the latter case,  the virtue of forgiveness  comes to the fore .
In both the cases, a son has been murdered , but the reaction  of the survivors of the victims  is  exactly the opposite. This shows the complexity  of human nature and psyche.

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