Originally posted by return_to_hades
Why I feel the balance tilts in favor of the Pandavas is because overall their actions are much less darker than the Kauravas. It is Duryodhana who first acts out on his jealousy towards his cousins. From the conspiracy at Varnavrat to the game of dice he is constantly tried to kill or undermine his cousins. It was the Kaurava side that always broke the rules of battle first, from the attack at midnight to the killing of Abhimanyu.
Although I would not say that the Kaurava's were totally vilified. When Bheema breaks Duryodhana's thighs and Duryodhan falls, the God's come and shower flower petals on Duryodhan recognizing his greatness as a king and warrior. In Indralok, Dharma and Indra explain to Yudhisther why Duryodhan deserves his place in heaven despite his misdeeds.
As for Karna, he is counted as one of the heroes of Kurukshetra. Till today people revere his heroics. Its Karan-Arjun who people remember as the greatest and noblest warriors at a battle. For all his misdeeds he was the one who was cruelly victimized by fate and his own brothers. People still know him as a loyal friend who stood by the friend who made him who he was. People still know him as a man of his words who stood by his honor code even if it meant death.
Ultimately, the greatest blame lies not on the Kauravas or Karna - but on Dhritrashtra and Gandhari who failed to guide their sons and in fact supported them out of their own weaknesses, on Kunti who could not own up to her mistakes in time, and on Sakuni who played on the emotions of his nephew.
Agree with everything you said here.
Especially about the Kauravas not being completely villified and Dhritarastra and Shakuni being the main blame.
I think Gandhari did try to control her son, but he had his father on his side and as his father was King, everything she advised him went through the other ear.
Dhritarastra has got to be the weakest King/Father I know, and if only one person had to be blamed for the turnout of events in MB, it has to be him, because he had the power to control everything, but he did not. He had the power to kick Shakuni out of his kingdom and make his go back to his own kingdom, but he liked the influence Shakuni had over Duryodhan. He also had the power to deny Duryodhan the wicked desires he had wanted, but he did not.
Duryodhana did not deserve Karna as his friend, but once again, it was fate. Karna really was a great character; it was only his disrobing Draupadi idea which angered me, and taking part in the 'six men against one 14 year old boy during Abhimanyu Vadh" but if he hadn't done that, I suppose he'd have been another perfect character.
However, I've never really blamed Kunti for some of the events, because I've always felt sorry for her character. She was another one of those women who did what she did because of the constraints on women in those times. Yes, it was because of her own carelessness that she got pregnant before marriage, but somehow, I can understand why she did what she did. It was all fear. Fear of society's criticism and abandonment were the leading factors for her actions, and though the life of one individual became hell for him due to her not speaking up, I still feel sorry for her.