Religious Constructs and the Portrayal of Supernatural Characters: A Comparative Analysis of Select Literary Classics

Pratap Kumar Dash


Supernatural characters mostly form archetypal motifs in many literary writings meaningfully. In this context, the present paper attempts at making comparative study by analysing the socio-cultural influences and modalities of select litterateurs from England and India of different times and genres those who pioneer in supernatural writings. Firstly, it puts forth the role of supernatural characters in the writings of the English authors in the forms of soothsayers and apparitions in Shakespeare; necromancy in University wits and compares them with traditional supernatural writings of India like epical, mythological, Buddhist petas and tantric writings. Then, it reflects on mesmerism in the Gothic writings which is extended up to the role of animagi and metamorphomagi in J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter and compares with the writings of Tagore; ghost stories of Trailokyanath Bandopadhya, Satyjit Ray, Tarasankar, and Manoj Das reflecting on spiritual psychic elements; Samit Basu presents Simoqin prophesies; Shweta Taneja’s concept of cult of chaos, etc. Then, an in-depth critical evaluation has been done regarding the importance of the supernatural characters in such writings from the artistic and philosophical point of views and stylistic factors. It is observed that the traditional authors of both the countries have blended mythological and socio-cultural motifs based on supernatural realities whereas in the modern times, the writers are intertextual, scientific as well as artistic and what’s more, the contemporary writers have been creating new forms unique to their domains of writing or genres.


supernatural, mesmerism, tantric tradition, peta, psychic element, motif

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ISSN: 2454-2296

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