Dasarupaka (critical study)

by Anuru Ranjan Mishra | 2015 | 106,293 words

This page relates ‘Characters in the Mudrarakshasa’ of the English study of the Dasarupaka of Dhananjaya: an important work on Hindu dramaturgy (Natya-shastra) from the tenth century dealing with the ten divisions of Sanskrit drama (nata), describing their technical aspects and essential dramaturgical principals. These ten types of drama are categorised based on the plot (vastu), hero (neta) and sentiment (rasa)

Part 7 - Characters in the Mudrārākṣasa

There are twenty-two characters in the play of Mudrārākṣasa. Out of them, four characters are principal and are historical personalities; i.e.

  1. Cāṇakya,
  2. Candragupta,
  3. Rākṣasa and
  4. Malayaketu.

Other characters like Bhāgurāyaṇa, Nipuṇaka, Jīvasiddhi, Siddhārthaka, Samiddhārthaka, Śārṅgarava, Candanadāsa, Śakaṭadāsa, Vīrādhagupta, Priyamvadaka, Vaihinarī, Jājalī, Śoṇottarā, Vijayā, Candanadāsa’s wife, Candanadāsa’s son, Parvataka, Sarvārthasiddhi, Virocaka are minor characters and are most likely fictitious. These characters are a fancy of the poet.

Cāṇakya or Viṣṇugupta is a shrewd official/politician and an important character in the drama. Cāṇakya is a clear-sighted statesman, not committing any error. He is firm on resolve and cool headed. He succeeds in bringing Candragupta to the throne.

Rākṣasa is also an official and an important character. However, he is not as shrewd politician as Cāṇakya is. He is a better soldier than a politician. He is noblehearted and trust worthy. However, his faithfulness to his lord Nanda is exemplary and is ready to die for the friend like Candanadāsa.

Candragupta, the prince of Magadha, is pivotal character. He respects his preceptor, is competentand has good diplomatic skill, good sense and absolute confidence.

Malayaketu, on the other hand, is a weak character. He has no confidence, no faith towards Rākṣasa. He is thoughtless as proved by his execution of the five princesses.

Candanadāsa is a winning character. He is ideal, devoted soldier, faithful to his master and ready to die for his friend Rākṣasa.

Nipuṇaka, Jīvasiddhi, Siddhārthaka, Samiddhārthaka and Śreṣṭhī are the spies of Cāṇakya.

Vīrādhagupta and Priyamvadaka, are the servants and agents, whereas Śakaṭadāsa is a friend of Rākṣasa.

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