More-than-Humans: Anthropomorphism in Girish Karnad’s Hayavadana and Naga-mandala

  • Amrutha Mohan Independent researcher MA (2014-16) Institute of English (University of Kerala)


Girish Karnad is one of the most popular dramatists whose plays are deemed as
precious gems in the treasury of Indo-Anglian literature. Innovative in tone and technique,
Karnad had forged a path of his own. He used folk conventions and interpreted indigenous
myths and legends to create a kaleidoscopic traditional theatre. His plays Hayavadana and
Nagamandala are popular for its novel themes, unique narrative conventions and for its
exquisite use of folk techniques. Both these plays use the trope of animals to unfurl the
narrative. The half man-half animal figure of Hayavadana in Hayavadana and the Cobra in
Nagamandala form the pivotal points of the plays. The personification of non human beings
or imparting human nature on animals opens up many pertinent questions to explore.
Anthropomorphism is the technique of imparting human nature, emotions and gestures on
non-human objects. Half animal, half humans, animal metamorphosed into humans, and
bizarre non-human objects behaving like humans occupy the major space of the dramatic
universe in both the plays. The paper tries to analyse how this aura of human beings is
bestowed on animals in the plays- their significance, the liminal spaces they occupy and their

How to Cite
MOHAN, Amrutha. More-than-Humans: Anthropomorphism in Girish Karnad’s Hayavadana and Naga-mandala. IJELLH (International Journal of English Language, Literature in Humanities), [S.l.], v. 6, n. 2, p. 7, feb. 2018. ISSN 2321-7065. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 18 mar. 2018.