The Post Office: Character of Amal

On the surface level Tagore’s play The Post Office represents the eagerness of Amal, a sick child kept confined in a room, to participate in the activity of life around him. But beyond this apparent simplicity lies its profound meaning. It has been read as an allegory of soul seeking what lies beyond; it presents human spirit reaching its liberation through a communication beyond the ken of human recognition. W.B Yeats lays emphasis on the deliverance which the child discovers in death that naturally comes at the moment when one reaches beyond his personal ego and is able to say, “all my work is thine.”

Amal is an orphan child adopted by Madhav. But he suffers from a serious disease. According to the advice of the village doctor, he is not allowed to go out in open-air as it may be detrimental to his health. So he is kept confined in room with utmost care by Madhav. He is a simple and innocent child with highly sensitive and imaginative mind. Though he is kept confined in room, his imaginative mind leads him to transcend the barrier of the four walls of the room. He sits besides the window and makes friends with the passer-by, imparting to each a new zest for life. Thus the Dairyman, Watchman, Headsman, Sudha and the village boys become his friends. Amal is an angelic creature that can create the world of values in the mere act of imaginatively perceiving it. His highly imaginative mind gives a compelling picture of the Dairyman’s village and the Dairyman is surprised to hear it. With simple and innocent mind, he believes Gaffers tale of the Parrot’s Isle. He also believes in Watchman’s assurance that one day he will receive the king’s letter and he waits in anxious anticipation for the King’s letter.

In Act II Amal’s physical condition deteriorate. None sees any hope of his survival. Headman mocks him giving him a blank letter. But at last the king’s Herald and the King’s Physician come. Lastly Amal dies. Thus the play deals with Amal’s tragic story of suffering and pain on the surface level. But a deeper analysis will reveal that Amal’s death is not at all a tragic one. Instead it is seen as union between human soul and the Supreme Being. Amal is an innocent boy who is tired of the suffering of his life. Therefore he is eager for deliverance from this earthly existence. It is an invitation to leave this world of pain and suffering and enter the world of eternal bliss. At the end of the play Amal says to the State’s Physician: “I feel very well, Doctor, very well. All pain is gone. How fresh and open! I can see all the stars now twinkling from the other side of the dark.”

Amal is an angelic creature, apparently passive but highly creative through his imaginative perception. He is the symbol of the soul longing for eternity.

Last modified: Monday, 17 July 2017, 1:22 PM