Natraj | Character Analysis in The Man-Eater of Malgudi

Natraj | Character Analysis in The Man-Eater of Malgudi

Character of Natraj in The Man-Eater of Malgudi

Introduction

Natraj, the protagonist of The Man-Eater of Malgudi was inactive and lethargic and was not capable of showing resistance. He was a skilled printer by profession. He is acted upon but does not act which means that he does not take initiative and is unable to impress upon other.

Disturbance of Peace

He lived happily, peacefully and comfortably in Malgudi surrounded by his friends and his innumerable clients. The highest sound of music of his life was however disturbed by the arrival of Vasu, the taxidermist who was an unbearable person who has been quarrelsome all his life. Natraj suffered a lot of pain and emotional disturbance as a result of his actions. But Vasu’s nature being self destructive caused much destruction and in the end peace was restored. This way Natraj has reviewed his happy and calm life.

Friendly Personality

The parlour of Natraj was surrounded by many people one is a poet who is writing about the life of God Krishna in monosyllabic verse and the other is Sen, a journalist who held forth the mistakes Nehru was making. Both were his friends and daily visitors to the press.

Natraj: A Successful Family Person

Natraj was a shrewd businessman and he prospered very well in his business. Besides Natraj was a lovable husband and an affectionate father. He lived in an ancestral home which was close to the press with his wife and son. He told that his son Babu went to Albert Mission school. His wife, every Deepawali would present to herself a silk saree glittering with lace.

Natraj: A Spiritual Minded Person

It was learnt that Natraj was a very religious man. In spite of his all business busies, he is a religious, spiritual minded. He takes keen interest in the mythological discussion with Sastri. He framed the picture of Goddess Laxmi in his parlour and he attributed his prosperity to the grace of goddess. In his routine he goes early in the morning to the river Saraju and was affectionately greeted by friends and neighbours and offered his prayer to the Sun God. When the first part of the poet’s epic was completed on Krishna’s life, he celebrated it and arranged for a proper consecration ceremony in the temple and took out a glorious procession since he worked day and night for the success of this celebration.

Natraj’s Faith on Religious Myths

Natraj was so much fed on religious myths that they formed the only reality to him. When Natraj understood that Vasu would shoot the elephant Kumar, he was reassured by the belief that God Krishna had been the incarnation of Vishnu who saved Gajendra. He would again come to the rescue of Kumar. He was very happy to see the idol of God which was well-decorated in the temple.

A Humanitarian Person

Natraj was disturbed with Vasu as he knew that Vasu could easily shoot Kumar, the elephant from his attic. He was so angry that he made a horrible cry to which the noise of the children, music and everything was silenced. He shouted and said, “Oh, Vishnu, save our elephant and save all the innocent men and women who were going to pull the chariot. You might come to our rescue now”. He had let out such a shout that everyone became stunned and the act of killing elephant by Vasu was dismissed.

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Natraj: A Sympathetic and Grateful Man

Natraj was not only helpful but also a very kind man. His humane haviour and zeal has been vividly brought out in his treatment of Kumar, Muthu from Mempi Village comes to seek his co-operation for the treatment of the elephant Kumar who was ill for some time and who had not taken anything for days together and who laid on the ground in the compound of the village temple. Natraj had not forgotten about his kindness but in turn helped him (Muthu) to the best of his ability.

Love and Hate Relationships

Natraj was carried away by Vasu and his activities. Vasu’s evilness has been compared with satan’s evil. There has been a love and hate relationship. A complex and a very fascinating relationship has developed between Natraj and Vasu. Natraj says that he wanted to get rid of Vasu, but he also admired the capacity of work of Vasu for all the dreadful things he was able to achieve single handedly.

Natraj said that he did not want to lose Vasu. Vasu symbolized evil but tried to fascinate Natraj. Thus, there has been a curious love-hate relationship.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, Natraj proved to be an unheroic hero, an ordinary individual like most of them, leading to humdrum life of routine as common people usually do in a world of reality. Natraj’s outlook has been well contrasted with the scientific outlook of Vasu and the hostile manner between the two works as a disadvantage to the printer. His passivity resulted in discomfiture. William Walsh rightly opines “Passivity of Natraj with the violence of taxidermist hunter, Vasu who is not only a character but also an oppressive and destructive force”. He was one of the most important characters of Narayan and a continuous source of amusement in the novel. He has remained a very good citizen of Malgudi and in such a homely life one cannot be adventurous.

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