Character Sketch of Draupadi in the Mahabharata

Draupadi, the central character in the ancient Indian epic The Mahabharata, embodies a complex and multifaceted persona that has captivated readers and scholars for centuries. Born from fire and destined for greatness, Draupadi’s character is intricately woven into the fabric of the epic, playing pivotal roles in the lives of the Pandava brothers and the unfolding of the Kurukshetra War. From her fiery swayamvara to her unwavering strength in the face of adversity, Draupadi’s story is one of resilience, courage, and unwavering devotion.

Character Sketch of Draupadi in the Mahabharata

Draupadi’s Identity

Draupadi, also known as Panchali, is a central figure in the Mahabharata. She is the daughter of King Drupada of Panchala and is married to the five Pandava brothers, Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva.

Draupadi’s Birth and Lineage

Draupadi was born from a sacrificial fire as a boon granted to King Drupada to avenge his humiliation by Drona. She emerged as a full-grown woman with exceptional beauty and grace. Draupadi is often seen as a symbol of divine intervention and strength.

Her Beauty and Grace

Draupadi is described as exceptionally beautiful, with features that captivate all who see her. Her beauty plays a significant role in the events of the epic, as it leads to rivalry and conflict among the characters.

Intelligence and Wit

Draupadi is not just a pretty face in the Mahabharata. She is sharp as a tack and quick-witted, often outsmarting those around her with her intelligence. Whether it’s in the dice game where she questions the legality of Yudhishthira’s stake or in her clever words during the disrobing incident, Draupadi’s sharp mind is a force to be reckoned with.

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Her Swayamvara and Marriage to the Pandavas

Draupadi’s Swayamvara was a contest where suitors had to string a mighty bow and shoot an arrow through a revolving target. Arjuna, disguised as a Brahmin, successfully completes the task and wins Draupadi’s hand in marriage. However, all five Pandavas end up marrying her due to a misunderstanding, leading to a complex relationship dynamic.

Challenges in Polyandrous Marriage

Navigating the complexities of a polyandrous marriage, Draupadi faced societal stigmas and personal dilemmas, yet her unwavering love and commitment to the Pandavas remained steadfast throughout their tumultuous journey.

Draupadi’s Struggles and Challenges

Draupadi faced a harrowing ordeal in the Kaurava court where she was publicly humiliated by Dushasana and disrobed in front of the entire assembly. This act of disrespect and violation became a defining moment in her life, showcasing her incredible resilience in the face of adversity.

The Pandavas went to Hastinapur to become the part of the game of dicing. The king Yudhisthira was accompanied by the queen Draupadi. The game of dicing began in the Assembly Hall. The Kuru king was represented by Sakuni. The game was witnessed by the Kauravas, kings, barons, mighty warriors and brahmins. The game began and Yudhisthira lost his material possession. The steward Vidura tried his best to stop the game but he was not heard by the king Dhrtarastra. The game continued and king Yudhisthira lost his brothers. He also lost himself. The Pandavas lost their freedom and landed themselves to slavehood. Sakuni provoked Yudhisthira to stake Draupadi. He lost Draupadi.

The big question was that whether Draupadi lost her freedom or not. Draupadi was the flash point of this question. She was the wife of the Pandavas.  Duryodhana ordered the usher to bring Draupadi in the Assembly Hall. She was informed by the usher that Yudhisthira lost her in the game of dicing to the Kauravas. Draupadi became angry and she scolded to usher.

Draupadi said:

“How dare you speak so, an usher, to me?

What son of a king would hazard his wife?

The king is befooled and crazed by the game

Was there nothing left for him to stake?” (140)

Draupadi did not come in the beginning. Later Yudhisthira sent a messanger and Draupadi came out with a single clothe on her body before the gathered people in Assembly Hall. Her eyes were lowered Duryodhana wanted to bring social disgrace to the Pandavas. The people were watching the pathetic condition of Draupadi. Suddenly, Duhsasana with a thunderous voice ran  towards in the direction of Draupadi and pulled her hair. He behaved wildly to Draupadi. He tried to molest her in the broad daylight in full public view inside the Assembly Hall.

The clothe was dragged from her body. Duryodhana and his friends roared and laughed in a thunderous voice. They took their revenge from the Pandavas by humiliating Draupadi. Duhsasana by force brought Draupadi in the middle of the Assembly Hall. She requested Duhsasana not to become cruel to her. The pitiable condition of Draupadi has been depicted by sage Vaisampayana. And she was dragged, she bent her body

And whispered softly,

“It is now my month!

This is my sole garment, man of slow wit,

You cannot take me to the hall, you churl!” (142)

But Duhsasana was blind with hatred against the Pandavas. He considered Draupadi not as human being but a won commodity in the dicing. The elders Kurus had buried their knowledge of truth and religion in the ditch before coming to the Assembly Hall. They became the spectator of this humiliation of a helpless woman. She was the Kulvadhu of the Pandavas and also related to the Kauravas. This was a public display of Draupadi’s half nude body.

Duhsasana became very bold and he committed unpardonable crime. He tried to take away the clothe from Draupadi’s body. Duhsasana began to take away the clothe. He became tired and failed to take away the clothe from her body. The divine intervention saved the honour of Draupadi. Bhimasen became very angry and he took the oath to break the chest of Duhsasana and drink his blood in the battle field. Draupadi condemned the law which invade the modesty of a woman.

Draupadi said:

“The Kurus allow- and methinks that

Time is out of joint- their innocent daughter and daughter-in-law to be molested!

What greater humiliation than that I, a woman of virtue and beauty, now must invade the men’s hall?

What is left of the Law of the kings?” (148)

The wind did not dare to enter in Draupadi’s palace without the permission of the Pandavas. Now she was shown in half nude body like a commodity in the Assembly

The character of Draupadi is a challenge to patriarchal forces. She fought for the cause of freedom of women. In fact; she is the pioneer of feminist force in world literature. She was married to five brothers without her own consent. But she accepted it as blessing of Kunti, her mother-in-law. She was staked by king Yudhisthira without her consent. She was considred as commodity and brought in the Assembly Hall and forced by the Kauravas to display her half nude beautiful body. Draupadi challenged the colossal male forces of her time to redeem the sagging honour of her own sex.

Exile and Life in the Forest

After the Pandavas lost their kingdom and were sent into exile, Draupadi had to adapt to a life of hardship in the forest. Despite the challenging circumstances, she remained steadfast in her support for her husbands and faced each trial with courage and determination.

Handling Adversity with Grace

Throughout her tumultuous life, Draupadi displayed remarkable strength and resilience. Even in the darkest moments, she maintained her dignity and composure, inspiring those around her with her unwavering resolve.

Seeking Justice and Vengeance

Driven by a sense of justice and fairness, Draupadi was relentless in her pursuit of retribution for the injustices done to her and her family. Her quest for vengeance was not fueled by hatred but by a desire to uphold righteousness and hold the perpetrators accountable.

Impact on the War of Kurukshetra

Draupadi played a pivotal role in shaping the events of the Kurukshetra war through her unwavering support for the Pandavas and her strategic counsel. Her presence on the battlefield served as a source of motivation and strength for the warriors fighting for righteousness.

Symbol of Feminine Power and Virtue

Draupadi emerged as a symbol of feminine power and virtue, embodying qualities of resilience, courage, and righteousness. Her legacy resonates through generations as a beacon of inspiration for women to stand up against injustice and uphold their dignity and values.


Draupadi’s character in the Mahabharata epitomizes the indomitable spirit of a woman who endured countless trials and tribulations with grace and strength. Her legacy transcends time, reminding us of the power of resilience, justice, and unwavering determination in the face of adversity. Her journey from a fiery princess to a powerful matriarch is a testament to the enduring legacy of her character, inspiring generations with her grace under pressure and unwavering commitment to justice.

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