Like the hero (Nayaka) of every play treating love in a serious way , Charudatta is a Rasika
(Man of feeling) or Sahrdaya (man of heart).
According to We Ragavan character types are analysed with the hero in the Indian dramaturgy. Four main types are established: the sublime, the vehement , the gay and the subdued. The epic heroes like Ram come under the first, the sublime; the Demons and fierce characters come under the vehement; lovers like Udayana come under the gay And Brahmans, ministers and merchants come under the last. According to me Charudatta in the Mrichchhakatika come under the category of subdued.
The most complete and memorable Nagraka in the Kavya albeit one fallen on hard times is Charudatta of Mrichchhakatika. Charudatta is eulogized as “handsome in appearance and speech” , ” the idea of the educated” , “ocean of seemly conduct” , ” refined and magnanimous of spirit ” , “treasure of all manly virtues ” and additionally “wish feeling fulfilling tree for the needy” as well as “the bridge for the good to cross over their miseries”. For all these qualities Charudutta is shown universally acclaimed as “adornment to Ujjaini”, ” the best of the city”.
He is a virtuous man, full of dignity. He is a rasik with aesthetic sensibility and also a dhiralalit hero who is not only fond of music, but is possibility of fine singer and musician himself. This is evident from the conversation between vidushak and Charudatta on the return from repeal laws musical recital as well as through Sarvilaka’s description of the musical instruments at Charudutta’s house.
Later the same night when a thief breaks into his house, a whole dexterously excavated by the thief in the wall wins Charudatta’s admiration because of the thieves adeptness at his art. Moreover it’s aftee watching
Vasantasena’s dance performance that he feels inclination for her. This confirms inclination to words the art.
Thus he is credited to be a Sahrdaya. Charudatta also has clear if erotically muted-links with the Nagrika as described in Kamasutra. But most important is his tender heartedness. All Sahrdaya here heroes and heroines have this quality to a marked degree.
Charudutta has this to an exceptional degree; indeed we know from several passages that he has lost his father’s fortune by lavishing wealth on those who have provoked his sympathetic response and thorough out the play we see ample evidence of his generosity even with the little he has. Charudutta even extends his generosity to his formal tormentor, the Sakara the previous King’s brother-in-law and grotesque parody of what it is to be a Nagarika.
But, Charudatta an impoverished Brahman is different from most Sahrdaya represented in drama.There are Hints that Charudutta’s sophistication and inordinate aethetic predisposition are the object of mild satire. The voice of satire is Maitrya.
Unlike the typical charismatic heroes most of which are kings, Charudatta is a poverty stricken Brahman functioning as of Vaishya.
There are also other non-Royal Nayakas such as Madhava of Bhavabhuti’s Malatimadhaca
Who like Charudatta is a Brahman but nevertheless functions as a typical lovestruck hero. But Charudatta cannot be the Madhava because he has the not-so-curious idea that beautiful women belong to the world of wealth and power in which he no longer has a share.
The question that prevails is that what does it mean to be a man of heart or feeling with taste and inclination that one cannot afford to indulge.
Charudatta as a lover is a great puzzle. The character Sakara brings us to question Charudatta as a lover. Logically Vasantasena should be the ideal beloved of Charudatta. Thus we would expect Charudutta to at least pine for her secretly. And he does so to a limited extent. When accidentally Vasantasena comes to his house in act one he remarks to himself:
Ah it’s Vasantasena-
The desire inspired by whom has, with the end of my wealth,
Subsided within my body like anger of a coward.
This may hint that he has longed for her since they met in the garden of Cupid. But Charudutta’s thoughts stands on a dwindling platform. He can never choose in which Vasantasena he believes in- the fellow Sahrdaya or the prostitute who belongs to a power structure from which he is barred.
This can be justified by the fact that he wants the Vidushak to keep her Jewels out of the inner quarters since they have been won by public women.This is not the kind of response by any hero of Sanskrit drama who has been pining for his dream woman. So, what sort of a ‘man of heart’ is he who never acts on his behalf, though he spends a remarkable amount of time lamenting his condition?
An act five although there are many instances of Vasantasena pining for him, there is no direct indication of his pining for her.
In act seven, though Charudutta ostensibly waits for Vasantasena’s arrival in an abundant garden , he never spares a thought for her.
Even in act nine and 10 when he is on a trial for murdering her, his thoughts related to her have nothing to do with her own plight but rather on the blot inflicted on his name in being accused of murder and theft.
Charudatta is an extremely self absorbed lover. All this construct a deep base about whether Charudatta does things or its vice a versa.
Obvious answer is that the things happened to him rather than him doing the things .
In his love affair Vasant Sena is the person you are rather then the purse you’d. Taking a hint from the vaguely Buddhist atmosphere of the play , we might refer to Charudutta as a secular bodhisattva, interested in everyone’s salvation but his own.
Charudatta remains what he is throughout the play, the lodestar of virtue by which others guide their action. It is for others to make a choice and in doing so, they choose Charudatta. Charudatta’s gestures have directly or indirectly the same effect on all noble souls who rally this cause, rescue him from his good hearted passivity and make him the Prince he was always meant to be.
Throughout the play Charudutta is generous and in doing so he gets Vasantasena and wealth too by saving the life of Aryaka the new king.
It’s his virtuousness that attracts Vasantasena towords him. Also his poverty is safeguard for Vasantasena.
So Charudatta’s the wheel of fortune keeps turning things in his favour .
Moreover his wife Dhuta, as a chaste wife supports him and never comes in his way. So, things are smooth for him. In act three his wife provides him with a means of compensating Vasantasena Sena for the loss of her jewels. To which his reaction is extreme embarrassment. In act 10 too his wife supports him.
If we see these hints we emerge with the portrait of a man who sees generosity as a sort of sexual potency and claim on general admiration of society. Charudatta’s version of potency is based on money, not as means of directly purchasing aesthetic erotic satisfaction but as means of inspiring others to love him and act on his behalf.
The ending of the play is utopian in just this sense: Charudatta is made a prince, Vasant Sena is released from prostitution, a fugitive becomes a king, a former becomes a minister and so on.
Thus the utopian order based on sympathetic generosity corresponds exactly with acknowledgement and empowerment of the Sahrdaya , the secular bodhisattva who like fairytale heroes everywhere gets the girl and the kingdom too.