The main characters of the Mahabharata are the Bharara family and those closely associated to them, like teachers and supporters. The Mahabharata is the longest epic tome known to exist and is longer than the Bible, the Iliad, and the Odyssey. There are numerous characters in the story, but the main 15 are Vyasa, Bhishma, Dhritarashtra, Gandhari, Kunti, Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, Draupadi, Duryodhana, Dushasana, Krishna, Drona and Karna.
Vyasa is a character that is seen throughout the whole epic. He is the narrator and father to the king Dhritarashtra. In the story, the Dhritarashtra's family is in a war against the king's nephews (sons of his deceased brother Pandu) for control of the kingdom. These two groups battle on intellectual and physical levels. The battle between the two sides of the family comes to a climax with Krishna coming to the warriors and sharing the knowledge that the ultimate battle isn't about material things, but cosmic and spiritual matters.
The story takes 18 books to come to completion. These books, altogether, equal 100,000 two line stanzas, though some modern edits narrow this count down to 88,000 stanzas. There are only around 4,000 lines dedicated to the main conflict, with the rest of the lines covering side stories and lessons that are important on their own.