Detailed Character Analysis of Vasantasena in Mricchakatika : Vasantasena is one of the most prominent characters found in Indian classical drama. Sudraka’s Mrichchakatika is realistic presentation of characters in a unique story of love, loss and desire. The playwright goes beyond the usual conventions followed by traditional Indian dramatists. His originality of vision and capability is seen in his presentation of the central female character Vasantasena.
Vasantasena does not fit into the traditional structure of women as daughters, wives or mothers. She is a unique paradox. She is, on one hand, an object of desire and, on the other hand, an independent person who believes in freedom of choice. Vasantasena enjoys economic power, much unlike the usual women figures portrayed in theatre of those times. However, she lacks social rights, because she is a courtesan. Ironically, despite her economic independence, she does not have the privilege which married women without any independence enjoys. However, what makes Vasantasena an admirable character is the fact that she does not submit to society without a fight.
No other heroine in Sanskrit literature can produce such a lasting effecton the mind of the reader as does this beautiful young jewel of a courtesan Sakuntala Sita, Parvati and others are undoubtedly Ideal women and worthy patterns for woman kind, but their self-sacrifice and self denial do not produce any sensational wonder Everyone expects them to behave nobly But here the case is quite different She is the most beautiful courtesan and also the wealthiest one. A host of young handsome men woo her with present at moments and gold coins. Even Sakara, the king: brother-in-laws falls madly in love with her. We rubour eyes in wonder when every calls her Kulstree we ask ourselves a question whether such a thing could really happen For his reason, no one can ever forget Vasantsena and her hearty love for a poor Brahman like Charudatta. He in a man whose only wealthy is his nobility of Soul.
In the context of the play Mrichchakatikam, it is important to understand Vasantasena’s profession. A courtesan, in ancient Indian society, was not just a prostitute or mistress. A courtesan was a source of companionship for the aristocratic men. She was well-versedin the sixtyfour kala-s or fine arts including music and dance. She had access to wealth and even reverence. However what she did not have was access to a private life. A courtesan was like a celebrated public property who was given recognition for her service but was denied any personal inclusion within the private world of domesticity.
In Mrichchakatikam Vasantasena enjoys far more admiration and importance in Charudatta’s heart than his own wife does. While Charudatta’s wife is granted just domestic and marital rights, Vasantasena receives Charudatta’s passion, his poetry and hisardent love. In the storm scene Charudatta is seen to express his desire in spontaneous poetic outbreak:
“The untimely storm afflicts the blackened sky
And the wistful lover’s heart.”
In the same scene, however, Charudatta openly says to Maitreya that
Vasantasena’s affection can only be bought by wealth: “For maid sare won by gold”.
Suggested Reading :Significance of the Title “Mricchakatika”
Vasantsena has all the qualities of an ideal lay, nobility of heart and fondness for children. Here love for Charudatta is a sort religion to her. She worships him as a God. She has nothings to do with kings or ministers or Brahmana scholars or rich traders woo are always away from their homes. She prefers a poor Brahmana who has nobility of mind and should so that one could charge her with any low motives in loving him. She loves him so intensely that she considers any object
associated with Charudatta as most sacred and holy. She is eager to getthe “Parvaraka” from Karnampuraka because it is worn by Charudatta.
She gives a warm welcome to Samvahaka and pays off his debt only because he is very close to Charudatta. Vadusaka is escorted by her attendant because he comes to her as Charudatta’s messenger. She realizes the real nobility of Charudatta heart when Vadusaka offersherthe “Ratnavalit’ as a substitute for the stolen ornaments. There and then Armaments, in ere she decides to offer herself to him. When Sakara insult her lover and call him poor Charudatta she becomes almost made with anger and kicks him away She is ready to face any danger for the sake of her love for him. She faces death with the sacred name of hero lover on her lips.
Charudatta’s words are a reflection of how society looked at women like Vasantasena. He fails to understand that a courtesan is capable of selfless love, without monetary interest. The selfless spirit of Vasantasena is best seen when she gives all her jewellery to Rohasenaso that he can buy a gold cart. This action shows that Vasantasena understands what emotional poverty is. Her wealth does not make her feel as fulfilled as Charudatta’s wife who is blessed with a husband and child. Her action becomes a metaphor of her desire to participate in the domestic simplicity of Charudatta’s household. The scene represents the rasas of both bat salya and karuna.
So far as relationships are concerned, it is Vasantasena who makes a choice, takes initiative. Usually, the conventional nayikas or heroines in Sanskrit drama are found to be devoted to their lovers or husbands with almost religious fervour. It is the nayaka or the hero who is seen to take the initiative. Sudraka’s Vasantasena can distinguish love from worship. She knows to draw a line between professional courtesy and true love. She is a woman of desire, intellect and every other trait which an urban modern woman aspires to possess.
Vasantasena is more than just a companion for Charudatta. She has a complete personality of her own. Her love for Charudatta is not rooted only in physical desire but is because of his kindness and honesty. Her action to free Madanika so that she may marry Sarvilaka shows her generosity and innate goodness. Vasantasena is a remarkably brave woman. Her constant fight against the influential villain Sansthanak shows her courage. Vasantasena is not submissive, neither is she unfaithful or lacking motherly instincts. This makes her character around one and a unique creation of Sudraka, who blends innovation and tradition in his signature style.
She never loses her balance of mind in the time of difficult Sheiswiseand cunning tough to find her own way cut of any difficult whenSakara, along with his companions, Vita and Ceta chase her in this late evening, she uses the presence of mind puts off the flame which her garment and enters Charudatta’ house safely. Thus she overcomes a great risky using her resourcefulness. Thin incident also shows the intensity and her love for him. No other heroine in Sanskrit literature except Sita has passed through such physical tortures. I do not agree with Dr. Ryder who says “She can not be called a great character. Really he fails to give justice to her character.
Vasantsena’s frank nature wins the hearts of the almost all the characters in this play. She receives laudatory opinions of Charudatta’s household. She tries to win the hart of Charudatta’s wife also with sweet and charming words. She says, she also gives her the necklace which Charudatta’s wife Dhuia returns to her. She readily gives her ornaments Rhohasena, Charudatta’s son, to get a guldens toy-cart made out them. She introduced Madanika to Sharvilaka in a very jolly fashion. Vita offers the following tribute when he mistakes Vasantsena to be dead, “Alas! Vasantsena! The river of courtesy ahs dwindled away. Rati has gone back to her country. The ornament of ornaments, possessing a charming face, river of noble nature poele lie, the storehouse of charm, the market of love ahs disappeared ! Alas! oh! Alas!
Thus Vasantsena is beyond comparison in the midst of the sighing and languishing young heroines of Sanskrit play. She is not a beautiful doll like Bhavbhuta’s Malati. One possesses the initiative force and strength of character that Vasantsena display. There is a strong of beautiful young women whose patient endurance is matchless, but here is no one whose life blazes into heroic glory in the face of death. Really, Sudrakahas immortalized Vasantsena on account of her noble nature and intense love on which even Gods themselves ought to throw incense.