Characters In The Odyssey And Ramayana

1143 words - 5 pages

In The Odyssey and Ramayana, the authors depict the characters through the eyes of their culture and civilization. In both works, the representation of men and women reflects an ideal that was sought after at the time. Particularly, the texts focus on the relationships between the main characters and the religion, as well as the main character and their familial ties. In The Odyssey, there is Athena and Odysseus while in Ramayana, there is Rama and Sita. Both Athena and Sita represent the idealistic woman which base their actions and thoughts off of their emotions. Whereas Odysseus and Rama, their characters’ roles represent the ideal status of a male figure in the authors’ society and the man’s role between religion and the family.
Athena’s role in The Odyssey focuses on several key components in Greek society that they considered to be normal for women at the time. Her portrayal in the epic distinguishes her from other women, however she still is subservient to men. Athena does not have the power to fully disclose her true form to a mere mortal. Instead she disguises herself in several male figures in the form of friends of Odysseus or idolized male figures while talking to Telemachus. This perception helps carry along the point of men’s importance and how their word and knowledge was superior than a woman’s. By not being allowed to reveal herself in her true form shows men’s power over her, even as a goddess. She also reveals how important Greek society thought of familial ties. Her relation and reason for helping Odysseus isn’t based only on her own personal benefit but to aide one of her relatives, Odysseus. Her otherworldly presence also connects her to how important the Greeks thought of their religion. By having the gods interfere with Odysseus’ journey home,specifically Athena, exemplifies how highly Greek society thought of their religious beliefs. “But Zeus’s daughter Athena countered him at once. The rest of the winds she stopped right in their tracks, commanding them all to hush now, go to sleep. All but the boisterous North - she whipped him up and the goddess beat the breakers flat before Odysseus...” (323) Her status as Zeus‘ daughter allows her to get away with going against Poseidon and also to meddle in the situation as much as she wants. Even though women weren’t considered equals to men at the time, it’s interesting to see how easily she can persuade her father to give her the power to help Odysseus.
When comparing The Odyssey to Ramayana, Sita’s represents ideals viewed by her Indian culture that have similar characteristics with the Ancient Greek culture regarding family ties and religion. In particular Sita’s role describes the importance of womanhood and how to speak up for your own beliefs - even if the majority of people do not respect them or see them in high regards. “One might steal the incomparable uaci from the hand that wields the thunderbolt and long remain alive. But violate a woman...

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