Characters of Mahabharata

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Charactersof Mahabharata

Mahabharatais a Hindu epic poem that comprises the essence of religion,parenting, war, politics and ethics. It unfolds in a historicalcontext where there is friction between the Kuru clan branches intheir bid to overpower the throne of Hastinapur. This conflictresulted into a war which was quite catastrophic. The characters ofthis heroic tale have human struggles, dilemmas and battles that theyare fighting within themselves. Some of the major characters includeYudhishthira who is the main protagonist of the tale, Duryodhana whobelieved that everyone should get what they deserve and Draupadi whois the epitome of feminism.


Duryodhanais Dhritarashtra’s first son who is a strong and magnificentleader he is portrayed as hospitable, benevolent and one who has abig heart. Despite all these, he possesses negative characteristicsthat the Pandavas suppress. He represents the shadow and thus hisbehaviors are reprehensible. Though Duryodhana is jealous of thePandavas wealth and good fortune, his character is consisted and heappears to be one of the least conflicted.

Hewas of the belief that he should be the one to ascend to the thronegiven that he is the eldest son of Kauravas his character is howeverantithesis to all heroic traits given that he lies and cheats withoutconcern that anyone may suffer because of his actions. In his beliefthat his rights are being trampled on by Yudhishthira makes him havegrudges against the Pandavas which ultimately finishes him togetherwith the elders, teachers and friends.


Yudhishthirais a harmless soul character in the tale he is attached to thetruth, righteousness and commitment. Yudhshthira cannot makepolitical decisions on his own as he is always consulting from hisfriends he is also not aggressive and possesses a reflective andcalm character. Being the eldest prince he happens to be the crownprince to the throne, however he detests the idea that he wouldascend to the throne saying that he would rather retire to theforest. Though he was known for his good qualities as a king he wasknown for his gambling habits which led to his loss of the kingdomand his wife Draupadi.

Inthis regard, Yudhishthira’s conflict with himself is reluctance intaking any action. In the tale, he is constantly reminded that hewill become king and he must rule justly. Reluctantly, he actuallylater emerges from the forest and demands for his share of thekingdom. Even after becoming king, Yudhishthira has to be constantlyreminded of his sva-dharmaDraupaditells him “Mostexcellent of kings, friendliness towards all creatures, generousgiving, study, asceticism – all this may be the dharma of abrahmin, but it is not for a king……”


Draupadiis known for her unbending will, pride and anger issues she haddeveloped the strength to bear life trials and her motto was never toharm the good people but destroy the wicked. Draupadi is aggressivein nature and her personality was that of lightning and thunder. Sheis known to speak her mind which was rare for a woman to be heroic inthe midst of men.

Draupadihad five husbands which brings out her character as a polyandry womanand the powerful bond among the Pandavas. Nevertheless, Draupadi kepther husbands happy and united bringing out her phenomenal abilitiesas a woman. Nevertheless, Draupadi was insulting as she ridiculedDuryodhana that he was blind when he got drenched waist deep inwater, she said &quotAndhasyaPutra Andhaha&quotwhich means that a blind man’s son is blind. She alsoshe ridiculed people based on caste.


Panda,S. C. (2008). Astudy of the educational philosophy of an epic poem, the Mahabharata.Kolkata: R.N. Bhattacharya.