Estimated read time: 7 min read

List of Characters

Character NameRole
Mumtaz MahalJahanara's mother
Shah JahanJahanara's father
AurangzebJahanara's brother
ArjumandJahanara's sister
IsaJahanara's love interest
RoshanaraJahanara's sister
Nur JahanJahanara's stepmother

Role Identification

In "Beneath a Marble Sky" by John Shors, the protagonist, Jahanara, takes center stage. She is the daughter of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan, and the sister of Arjumand, Roshanara, and Aurangzeb. Jahanara's role in the story is to navigate the complex world of Mughal politics, love, and family loyalty.

Character Descriptions


Jahanara is a strong-willed and intelligent young woman. She possesses a sharp intellect and a deep understanding of the political landscape of her time. Her physical beauty is often overshadowed by her inner strength and resilience.

Mumtaz Mahal

Mumtaz Mahal is Jahanara's mother, known for her exceptional beauty and her close relationship with Shah Jahan. She is a loving and caring mother who serves as a role model for Jahanara.

Shah Jahan

Shah Jahan is Jahanara's father and the ruler of the Mughal Empire. He is a powerful and charismatic leader who is deeply in love with Mumtaz Mahal. Shah Jahan's love for his wife has a profound impact on Jahanara's life.


Aurangzeb is Jahanara's ambitious and power-hungry brother. He is willing to do whatever it takes to secure his position as the future ruler of the empire, even if it means betraying his own family.


Arjumand is Jahanara's sister and the beloved wife of Shah Jahan. She is known by her royal title, Mumtaz Mahal, and is the inspiration behind the Taj Mahal. Arjumand's beauty and grace are legendary.


Isa is Jahanara's love interest and a talented architect. He is captivated by Jahanara's intelligence and passion. Their relationship blossoms amidst the backdrop of the construction of the Taj Mahal.


Roshanara is Jahanara's sister, known for her cunning and manipulative nature. She is willing to go to great lengths to secure power and influence for herself.

Nur Jahan

Nur Jahan is Jahanara's stepmother and a formidable political figure in the Mughal court. She is known for her intelligence and shrewd decision-making.

Character Traits

Jahanara is characterized by her intelligence, resilience, and determination. She is a natural leader with a deep sense of loyalty towards her family. Jahanara's love for her siblings and her commitment to upholding their family's legacy drive her actions throughout the story. Despite facing numerous challenges, she remains steadfast in her pursuit of justice and the preservation of her family's honor.

Mumtaz Mahal is described as beautiful, loving, and influential. Her kind nature and close relationship with Shah Jahan make her a beloved figure in the empire.

Shah Jahan is characterized by his charisma, ambition, and deep love for his family. His grand vision for the empire and his dedication to his wife's memory shape his actions and decisions.

Aurangzeb is portrayed as ambitious, cunning, and power-hungry. He is willing to betray his own family in his quest for power, which creates tension and conflict within the narrative.

Arjumand is depicted as a symbol of beauty and grace. Her unwavering love for Shah Jahan and her willingness to sacrifice for her family make her a memorable character.

Isa is characterized by his talent, passion, and love for Jahanara. His skills as an architect contribute to the construction of the Taj Mahal, and his relationship with Jahanara adds depth and emotion to the story.

Roshanara is portrayed as manipulative and willing to use any means necessary to achieve her goals. Her actions create obstacles for Jahanara and add a layer of intrigue to the narrative.

Nur Jahan is depicted as a powerful and intelligent woman who wields significant influence in the Mughal court. Her political savvy and determination make her a formidable character.

Character Background

Jahanara is born into the royal family of the Mughal Empire, with her father being the Emperor Shah Jahan. Her childhood is filled with privilege and luxury, but also with the weight of expectation and responsibility. As she grows older, Jahanara becomes increasingly aware of the political tensions within the empire and the struggles for power among her family members.

Mumtaz Mahal, Jahanara's mother, is a beloved figure in the empire and has a strong influence on Jahanara's upbringing. Mumtaz Mahal's untimely death has a profound impact on Jahanara, shaping her character and motivating her actions throughout the story.

Shah Jahan's love for Mumtaz Mahal and his grand vision for the Taj Mahal drive much of the narrative. Jahanara's relationship with her siblings is complex, with loyalty and rivalry intermingling as they navigate the treacherous world of court politics.

Character Arcs

Jahanara's character arc in "Beneath a Marble Sky" is one of growth, resilience, and self-discovery. Initially, she is a dutiful daughter and sister, following the expectations placed upon her by her family and society. However, as she faces personal tragedy and political turmoil, Jahanara begins to question the status quo and find her own voice. Throughout the story, she transforms from an obedient princess to a courageous and determined leader who fights for justice and the preservation of her family's legacy.

Aurangzeb's character arc is one of ambition and betrayal. Initially, he is portrayed as a devoted brother, but his thirst for power drives him to betray his own family. As the story progresses, Aurangzeb's actions become increasingly ruthless and his relationship with Jahanara becomes strained.

Isa's character arc revolves around his love for Jahanara and his contribution to the construction of the Taj Mahal. His passion for architecture and his relationship with Jahanara bring out his talent and emotional depth.


Jahanara shares a close and loving relationship with her mother, Mumtaz Mahal. Her mother's influence shapes Jahanara's character and instills in her a sense of duty and loyalty.

Jahanara's relationship with her father, Shah Jahan, is complex. She deeply admires and loves him, but also struggles with his actions and decisions as the Emperor.

The bond between Jahanara and her siblings, Arjumand, Roshanara, and Aurangzeb, is tested throughout the story. Loyalty, rivalry, and betrayal shape their relationships, creating tension and conflict within the narrative.

Jahanara's romantic relationship with Isa adds a layer of depth and emotion to the story. Their love for each other is both a source of strength and a challenge as they navigate the political and personal obstacles they face.

Overall, "Beneath a Marble Sky" explores the intricate web of relationships within the Mughal Empire, highlighting the power dynamics, love, and loyalty that exist within a royal family. Jahanara's journey as a protagonist is intertwined with these relationships, shaping her character and driving the narrative forward.