The war between the Pandavas and Kauravas lasted for 18 days.The battle during all the 18 days was pretty much the same and it would be futile to describe it day by day.The war which took place in Kurukshetra was one of the bloodiest to have occured in Ancient India.
The Pandavas emerged victorious in the end but it only after they had lost most of their loved ones.Now let us have a look at how Bhishma,Abhimanyu,Drona,Karna and Duryodhana met their ends since the death of these characters form a major part of the narrative and are central to the understanding of the great epic.
Bhishma commanded the Kauravas for the first 9 days brilliantly.Hence,the Pandavas were desperate to see his end. Bhishma,the grandsire,was in particular averse to the idea of fighting women on the battlefield.Krishna knew of this and, hence on tenth day,placed Sikhadin ,a transvestite, in front of Arjuna.Krishna then told Arjuna to aim arrows at the weak-points of Bhishma’s armour.Bhishma,on seeing Sikhadin before him,had naturally cast aside his weapons.It was then that Arjuna’s well-aimed shafts pierced the body of the grand-sire and he fell mortally wounded.
Another character ,who was killed by unfair means, was killed by unfair means was Abhimanyu.Abhimanyu was the son of Arjuna and Subhadra,Krishna’s sister.When Abhimanyu was young his father had taught him how to breach the lotus formation and enter the enemy’s ranks.But he was inept at making his way out of the formation .Thus,when Arjuna was waging war elsewhere,Yudhisthira asked Abhimanyu to break the enemy’s lotus formation and assured him that they would enter behind him and help him find his way out.Unfortunately,Abhimanyu entered the lotus formation,and before the others could join him,the breach in the formation was closed.Hence,Abhimanyu who was equal to his father in skill and valour was trapped inside the enemy’s ranks.He fought bravely and defeated all the Kaurava heroes with ease.But then all the Kaurava heroes attacked him jointly and they killed him through cheap guerrilla tactics.
A more tragic fate awaited Drona, the teacher of both the Kauravas and Pandavas.Krishna once again realised that it was impossible to defeat Drona by fair means.So he advised the Pandavas to tell Drona that Aswathama,his son, was dead.The Pandavas couldn’t think of telling such a big lie without even a hint of truth in it.Hence,Bhima killed a huge elephant called Aswathama with his mace.Then,Yudhisthira,the most righteous agreed to tell the lie.And when Drona asked him if Bhima had truly killed Aswathama,his son.Yudhisthira replied in the affirmative but murmured Aswathama the elephant.Drona who was overcome with grief sat in a yogic posture casting aside all his weapons.Then Dhristadyumna fulfilled his destiny by beheading Drona.
After Drona’s fall,Karna was made commander- in-chief of the Kaurava army.he caused great damage to the Pandava army and this forced Arjuna to counter him.Arjuna escaped death at the hands of Karna a few times only due to the smart maneuvering of the chariot by Krishna.Then unfortunately,Karna’s chariot got stuck in the mud.As explained earlier,he was cursed to forget whatever he had learned from Parasurama in his hour of need.Hence as Karna was lifting the wheel of his chariot from the mud,Arjuna on Krishna’s advice killed him with one of his arrows.This almost signalled the end of the war and now only Duryodhana remained.
Duryodhana,after hearing the news of Karna’s death had hid himself in a pond.Now,the Pandavas reached the pond and Bhima challenged him to a fight.Since he was a true warrior,Duryodhana accepted the challenge.A terrible fight ensued, and Bhima was faring no better than Duryodhana.Krishna knew that it was not going to be easy to defeat Duryodhana through a fair fight.Hence,he reminded Bhima how he had taken an oath to kill Duryodhana by striking his thighs.Hence,Bhima struck Duryodhana on his thighs with his mace and mortally wounded him.