Unravelling the Web of Desire and Death: A Tale of Psychic Tension, Revenge, Lust, and Murder in Shashi Deshpande's Novels If I Die Today and Come Up and Be Dead

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Dr. Parveen Bala, Dr. Vishnu Kumar Sharma, Dr. Vishakha Chauhan


It's not surprising for societies to have problems, as humans have faced difficulties since their existence. Shashi Deshpande's novels also address several social issues, including extra-marital sex, prostitution, rape (including marital rape), and murder, shedding light on the victim's pain and the root causes and attitudes contributing to these problems. Come Up and Be Dead examines prostitution and highlights psychological tension, lust, and revenge as main factors. If I Die Today reveals that mentally unstable and perverse individuals may commit murders to conceal their crimes. The Binding Vine shows that male attitudes of disregarding women's identity and personality contribute to rape and societal victim-blaming. Additionally, the male usually initiates extra-marital relations, but sometimes a woman's intelligence can attract a man, as shown in Bhaskar's fascination for Urmila. Societies are not immune to problems, and humans have faced difficulties since their appearance on Earth.

If I Die Today and Come Up and Be Dead are two of Shashi Deshpande's novels that explore the darker aspects of human nature like themes of psychic tension, revenge, lust, lasciviousness, and murder. and the consequences of giving in to base desires and impulses. If I Die Today focuses on the helplessness of patients when a doctor is a psychopath and highlights the tension and fear that arises when someone in a position of power abuses it. The novel also touches upon themes of morality, justice, and the consequences of remaining silent in the face of wrongdoing. On the other hand, Come Up and Be Dead explores the themes of revenge and lust and portrays how human weaknesses such as lasciviousness, fear, greed, and lavishness can lead to tragic consequences.

Keeping all that in mind, the objective of this paper is to investigate the issues we come across in Shashi Deshpande’s novels If  I Die Today and Come Up and Be Dead and try to find if the chief cause of issues lies in prevailing socio-economic conditions and can people do endeavour to change those prevailing socio-economic conditions and try eradicate these problems.

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