What is the role of Madhavya in Abhijanan Shakuntalam?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Madhavya was King Dushyanta’s personal entertainer and accompanied him to the different places the King visited. He knew that the King had fallen in love with Shakuntala, foster daughter of Sage Kanva. Madhavya also served the King as his companion and confidant in personal matters. The King shared his feelings for Shankuntala with Madhavya who advised against the union, given that she was a hermit-girl. However after the Kings description of the girl, Madhavya suggested that the King marry her before she was taken by someone else. The King wanted Madhavya to keep it a secret and so he asked the entertainer to remain silent about the issue when he goes back to the palace and that he spoke in Jest. Madhavya believed that the King was not truly in love with Shakuntala and so could not help the King remember his bond to the girl before he rejected her. However Madhavya helped the King keep up hope that he would see Shankutala again.