(Last Updated on : 22/07/2009)
Prahasana is a farcical or comic satire that might be thought to have originated, like the old comedy, from the Phallic Hymn.
Prahasana is distinct from the aristophanic comedy. It is not leveled at the many headed mob, but in general at the consecrated and privileged orders of the community, as Ascetics, Brahman, men of rank and wealth, and princes. The vices satirized in the two latter are those, which originate from an abuse of riches rather than of power, and are those of low luxury, not tyrannical despotism.
In the Prahasana the object of satire are sensuality and hypocrisy. It is in their extreme indelicacy that they resemble, although perhaps they scarcely equal, the Greek comedy; but they have not its redeeming properties, lively cheerfulness and brilliant imagination. They have some causticity or corrosive substance and humour, but they are scarce in the high merits of poetry and wit. The Prahasana is generally a drama in one act, planned to excite laughter. The story is fabricated, and the hero is an ascetic, a Brahman, a king, or a rogue. The dramatis characters are courtiers, menials, mendicants, knaves, and harlots. The inferior persons speak low Prakrit, or a local dialect.
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