Role of Kamala in Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha

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IB English A1 Higher Level|
World Literature 2 Assignment 2C|
The role of Kamala in Siddhartha’s journey in Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha.


Name:Andy Sun
Candidate Code:001106-031
Session:May 2011
School:Växjö Katedralskola, Sweden
Word Count:1139

Siddhartha: the role of Kamala
Statement of intent:
The novel Siddhartha written by Hermann Hesse is a philosophical novel that explores the journey of life and to enlightenment. This is done through the narration of the life of a young boy – the eponymous Siddhartha by a third-person omniscient narrator. My goal in this essay is to explore the role of the most important female character in Siddhartha, Kamala. Siddhartha is set in India, the story concurs with the life of Gotama the Buddha and therefore is estimated to take place around the 5th-6th century B.C. Many female characters play a part in Siddhartha’s journey. Siddhartha’s mother, the nameless young woman in the forest that attempts to seduce him and Vasudeva’s deceased wife. However the only female character that plays a significant role in the plot is Kamala, a courtesan who meets Siddhartha outside the city and becomes an influential character. The root word of the name Kamala – “Kama” is the Hindu god of love and desire; this represents her profession and character. Kamala first appeared in the eponymous chapter. Siddhartha meets Kamala outside the city when she was being escorted by her servants. Immediately, Siddhartha is struck by her beauty and decides to find her in the city. “He saw beneath high-piled black hair a very fair, very soft, very clever face, bright-red lips like a newly opened fig, eyebrows well tended and painted in the form of high arches, dark eyes clever and alert.” The immediate circumstances in which we meet Kamala give us the impression of her being a very beautiful and rich, yet mysterious and untouchable given Siddhartha’s social and financial situation. He then enters the city...
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