Actaeon & Artemis (Diana)

File:Actaeon Caserta.jpg

At college Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT was prescribed for detailed study and the following is excerpted from Act I Scene i of the play and the lecture was by Prof. Eugene D’ Vaz. Most of the lecturers would have got stuck with the opening lines “IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE…………”, but this Prof was different!


Why, so I do, the noblest that I have:
O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first,
Methought she purged the air of pestilence!
That instant was I turn’d into a hart; 
    And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds, 
    E’er since pursue me. 

Now, it may not be that difficult to correlate the sculpture with the highlighted portion of the text. The summary would be simple: since the time Duke Orsino set his eyes on Olivia, he became a hart and his “own” desires like cruel hounds pursued his self. But the nuance was in the splitting of the person of the duke from his desires. The Prof went on to talk of the mythological character called ACTAEON, who being a hunter by profession, one day accidentally saw the Goddess of Chastity, Hunting  and the Moon, bathing with her maids. Thereupon, Actaeon was stunned at the beauty of Diana and stood transfixed. Diana cannot take such things lightly, so the Goddess in a jiffy turned ACTAEON into a Stag and his own Hounds started pursuing him and tore him to pieces!

It was this DUALITY of the self which pre-occupied the prof’s lecture. The Prof was graphic in his description and he went on to add: ACTAEON, as a HUNTER could have never imagined how it was to be the HUNTED and more so when he was hunted by his own hounds, ignorant of the fact that the hunted stag was their own master Actaeon!

There is this journalist, who was good at expose^s and suddenly, his own female journalist has brought about an accusation of SEXUAL ASSAULT on this journo!

Such is the case of a retired Supreme Court Justice (whose name is withheld for reasons best known to the victim!)

All these are stunned like Actaeon, being pursued by their own respective systems, which they once controlled! 

What I like the most about Indian reporting is that, it has a story line built so malleable, that anyone can add or subtract or tweak the story line and keep it going till overtaken by a more scandalous story! If one asks for the facts- NO ONE KNOWS! We Indians are all living on MYTHS- myths which let our imagination free play and never ever RESTRICTED by facts! (

Okay, I agree that these are still in pre-FIR stage, what about the latest news that the statement recorded by a Superintendent of Police was tweaked to implicate the accused in Rajiv Gandhi murder case? Is the then SP confessing now, because age and conscience have caught up with him? Truly scandalous! (

We, as a nation, should strive to segregate FACTS from FICTION-at least on matters which involve ascribing CRIMINALITY to INDIVIDUALS and not merely drum up imaginary charges with the media and when the matter goes for trial there are no FACTS to show! Can we ever be sure of what we read daily in the news papers?



I am in a mood to fall into the first category. Lovers are of two types, the HUNTERS and the PRIESTS.

The HUNTER loves the chase and when he sees someone who whets his appetite, he starts the chase. He is willful and cannot have respect for anything he is offered. If at all he falls in love with someone who had offered herself, then he runs the risk of turning into a priest type.

The PRIEST lover, is not willful, but either devises ways to obtain the object of his desire as an OFFERING. This devising of ways, includes display of superior skills, expression of talents- which go a long way in fascinating the women folk, and make them pursue the PRIEST TYPES.

Let me make an attempt to analyze the PRIEST type first. The PRIEST worships a deity and he is in constant communion with the deity (or so he claims and has to conduct himself in a way befitting such claims!!)

But how to identify the PRIEST type?

He is self absorbed. He is self expressive. He could ignore the most beautiful woman merely because she doesn’t recognize his priesthood. He is a LEADER and wants to be followed- he may still not respond to the type of women who pursues all because his refined TASTES have a huge threshold. But nevertheless he is the priest type. He likes to have his OFFERINGS, but what he is gonna accept should be left for him.

What is the NATURE of the PRIEST types? They are hugely talented, great EXPRESSORS of their feelings, and very refined in their tastes and less willful- even if they are willful it would not show. The greatest artistes do belong to this variety. The women are a means and by no means an end in themselves. The women they get are normally women who have made a choice consciously and are of the willful type. We could say that the opposites attract!!

The typical PRIEST type of lovers would be celebrities like Bjorn Borg, Amjad Ali Khan (Sarodist), Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Bob Dylan,  Albert Einstein, John Lennon etc. They look for besotted devotion in love by a woman, who does so more for their talents and their ASPIRATIONS- which are usually lofty. I would put a person like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan(may his soul rest in Peace), the Pakistani singer , in that category too. These PRIEST type Lovers care more for what they think of themselves or what their God thinks of them. The relationship they forge is seldom visible and never for display as trophy. When they find their WOMAN they find a completeness of their BEING.

The HUNTER TYPE of LOVER is a great EXECUTOR. An achiever who is in absolute touch with reality limited in Time and Space. They fall for a woman who is either docile, beautiful and obedient OR a woman who is as willful as themselves, but who aids their promotion. The examples that crop to my mind are King David of Israel, Chengiz Khan, Macbeth (Shakespeare’s character). They are willful to the core and they do not brook NO for an answer.

The beauty about life is that except for the examples cited and the likes, most of us are a cheap amalgam of both, and funnily the type that expresses the wrong side to the woman and thereby elicits sympathy instead of inspiring DEVOTION or DOCILITY!!