Friday, May 17, 2013

Q- The Prakarna or Plot in Mrichchhakatikam:

Q- The Prakarna or Plot in Mrichchhakatikam:

v Introduction:-
            Sudraka was a king who is supposed to have lived in the Second Century B.C. He belonged to the Andrabharty dynasty founded by Simuka. The king is identical with Sudraka as referred in the Skandapurana in about two hundred A. C. Others try to identify King Sudraka with Vikramadity, the founder of the Samvat era. Keith observes that Sudraka is really a mythical king. Thus there are disputed about the time of King Sudraka.

            However we get a little account of Sudraka in the Prologue of this play. He was very handsome and was well-verged in the Rugveda and the Samaveda. He was very clever in mathematics, fine arts and sciences of elephants. He won many medals in hand-to-hand contests. He regained his eye-sight through the favour of Siva. Then he made his the king and performed the Ashvarmedha Yagna. After remarkably long life of the one hundred years and ten days, Sudraka ended his early life by entering into the fire.

            Mrichchhakatikam is one of the best dramas in ten acts composed by Shudraka with a social theme set in a realistic atmosphere. Technically it is a ‘Prakarna’ Natya. 

v Characteristic of Prakarna :-
            There are some characteristics which forms a ‘Prakarna Natya’ the following characteristics should be followed by a dramatist while forming the Prakarna Natya.
(1) The Prakarna should be based upon worldly life. It should not be imaginary.
(2) The hero must be a Brahmin or the merchant of a minister. It should not be a low character.
(3) The heroine must be a courtesan or a lady of noble birth. The heroine should be of a good nature.
(4) The number of acts usually should be ten. Not less than five nor more than ten.
(5) Sentimental love should be its prominent feature. There should not be any other theme than love.
(6) Rest of the features should resemble a ‘Natya’
(7) Plot should be divided into two parts (1) Adhikarik (main plot) (2) Prasangik (sub plot)
The Prakarna play has all these qualities otherwise it can be called as Prakarna. Now let us discuss Mrichchhakatikam as a Prakarna play.

v Mrichchhakatikam as a Prakarna play:-
            Mrichchhakatikam follows all the characteristics of a Prakarna play. It can be called a perfect  Prakarna.Let’s study Mrichchhakatikam as Prakarna play.
1.      A Prakarna should be based on worldly life. King Shudraka has chosen a subject which resembles the daily life of Ujjayni. The story also deals with the worldly life of the people of the society.
2.      The hero, Charudatta is a Brahmin by birth but a merchant by profession. He fits in the characteristic of a Prakarna.
3.      The heroine is Vasantsena a courtesan; but there is also a kulastri - the wife of Charudatta -Arya Dhuta. As required in theory, Shudraka keeps them apart.
4.      Mrichchhakatikam consists of ten acts. The formation of act is also kept.
5.      The play has the central theme of sentimental love between Charudatta and Vasantsena. It is thecore feature of the play. The story is woven around the love between these two characters.
6.      The plot has two acts which is divided as (1) Main plot (2)   Sub plot

v The Main plot:-
            The main plot refers to love of Charudatta and Vasantsena while the sub plot refers to the revolution which ultimately places Aryaka on the throne after the murder of King Palaka.  The main plot as depicted by Shudraka has a vast, canvas and presents a complex plot. The main plot presents the love between Charudatta and Vasantsena. It consists of the deposit of the ornaments; their theft and the part they play in establishing the guilt of Charudatta’s and the various occasions when the nobility of Charudatta mind and heart is revealed to Vasantsena. There are also the unforgettable characters of Sakara and Maitreya and the trial scene are all entirely original. The idea of a courtesan falling in love with a poor Brahmin is found in the story of Kumbhilaka and Rupanika in the “Bharatkatha”.
            The construction of main the plot reveals the reality of the author and mastery over plot as such. At first sight it looks complex but the way Shudraka depicts the love affair of Vasantsena and Charudatta and with together the events concerning their sentimental love is remarkable.

v Sub-plot:-
            The two sub plot refers to the love affair of the Brahmin youth Sharvilaka and Madanika-Vasantsena’s maid whom Sharvilaka is trying to buy off in order to marry her. The other sub plot concerns a political revolution in Ujjayni in which the rebels are attempting to overthrow the tyrant king Palaka and install Gopaldwarka - Aryak on the throne. Despite the complicated plot structure, the three threads are skillfully interwoven and the story is well organized and unified.

v Perfect plot construction:-
            Thus this play has two plots.  In such cases, is very difficult for a dramatist to keep the balance between the two plots. For example Malti-Madava the sub plots almost over shadow the main plot. It is also well constructed in acts. Samvahaka’s admiration for Charudatta, Charudatta’s nobility of heart; Vasantsena’s love for Charudatta every king reaches its climax in the Vth Act. The blind love of her kicks Sakara and invites trouble upon herself. In this way the two subplots are also woven skillfully by the dramatist Shudraka.

v Conclusion:-  
On account of its perfect plot construction this play is the most enjoyable of all plays in the Sanskrit language. The author himself proudly refers to the plot as something ‘unique’ the skill with which the events are constructed in the main plot and sub plot is simply marvelous.

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