What Is a Summary of “The Punishment” by Rabindranath Tagore?

“The Punishment” tells the story of two brothers and their wives and the unjust circumstances that arise when one brother, Dukhiram, kills his wife Radha. It is a story that examines the position of women in Bengali society during the late 1800s.

“The Punishment” begins with the two brothers, Dukhiram and Chidam, returning home from work. Dukhiram requests food from his wife Radha. Radha responds flippantly, inciting Dukhiram into an uncontrollable rage which leads him to kill Radha with a knife as his brother and Chidam’s wife Chandora look on, horrified.

In order to protect his brother from criminal prosecution and death, Chidam tells the village elder that it was Chandora who murdered Radha. Chandora is disgusted and betrayed and resolves to accept execution at the hands of the court for her alleged murder rather than return to her husband. Chidam realizes his mistake and tries to save Chandora from the death sentence by telling what really transpired. Even Dukhiram attempts to save Chandora by confessing to killing Radha. However, the judge believes that they are simply trying to save Chandora from being sentenced to death. Ultimately, Chandora seals her fate by “confessing” to killing Radha and is executed by hanging.