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Character sketch of Charudatta from Sudraka’s Mrichchhakatika

Charudatta is the lead hero of Sudraka’s play Mrichcchakatika. He is a poor Brahmana who is also a merchant by profession. By following the rules of an ideal Prakarana, the hero, i.e. Charudatta is a nobleman. Charudatta is a generous man, who loves to help others with anything he has. In fact, his name Charudatta means the one whose manner of giving charity always accompanies nobality. Because of this habit of charity, Charudatta has turned into a poor Brahmana from a rich merchant. His wealth has been used up in charity and now he is sunk deep beneath poverty. At the beginning of the play, Charudatta is seen lamenting about his problems and blaming poverty as the sole reason. Poverty has taken a negative effect on his mind, as he puts the blame of all his problems on poverty. Even in this state of destitute poverty, Charudatta wishes to help those in need. This shows his selfless nature.

Charudatta is respected by everybody in the kingdom. Him being a Brahmana assures him respect even from the thief Sarvilaka, who refuses to steal in the house of a Brahmana. Charudatta is a handsome man, who has attracted the attention of a courtesan. Vasantasena, a ganika has fallen in love with Charudatta, and desires to be with him. Charudatta too, has developed equal feelings towards her. However, it is not considered noble for a man to desire for another woman outside marriage. Therefore, the character of Charudatta is being criticized by many.

Charudatta is also considered as a passive character by many. In his relationship with Vasantasena, he doesn’t get involved actively. He just accepts what’s written in his fate and doesn’t try to get much involved in it. It is Vasantasena, who proceeds to show her affection towards Charudatta. But, if we analyze properly, Charudatta turns out to be the center of all events in the play. He plays a role in both the plots of the play. It the the romance between him and Vasantasena, that the chief plot of the play is based on. Again, he also plays a part in the sub-plot of the play. The security guards let go of the rebel Aryaka only because he is accompanied with Charudatta. This gives us a glance at the amount of respect the people in the kingdom have for Charudatta.

Even though Charudatta acts passively in the love affair, his affection for Vasantasena is boundless. He is ready to take risks for his love. When the jewelry that Vasantasena gives him gets stolen, he gives away his wife’s necklace to Vasantasena as a repayment. When Charudatta learns that Vasantasena is no more, he goes into deep shock. He is being convicted of her murder falsely, which completely wrecks him. He is in a state where he cannot even cry or express for the loss. When Vasantasena returns back alive, he is the happiest person at the moment.

Therefore, the character of Charudatta is rightly considered as the hero of the play. He has all the qualities that the nayaka must possess in a Prakarana.

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