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The Ramayana By R.K. Narayan Essay

1680 words - 7 pages

The Ramayana as retold by R.K. Narayan, explores the roles and duty of women and what it takes in order to be a good woman in Indian society. He explores these roles through the women through out the epic whether it is the wife of a King or some form of deity. While in general women were viewed as subpar to men and were seen as second-class citizens, the women in the book shape the men into who they become and account for much of the manipulation of the individuals and the caretaking of the individuals. Women such as Sita and Kausalya demonstrate those women that are good. These women were regarded as beautiful, not only for their physical attributes, but for their behavior in regards to the males in the epic. They are everything women should be- they are kind and respect the males in their lives above all else. However these women are also met with their opposites, those women who have much improvement to make before being recognized as good women in the Indian society. These women, like Kaikeyi and Soorpanaka go against all Indian ideals. They use their sexuality in order to attempt to manipulate the men of the epic. They do everything in their power in order to get their way, even if it is at the cost of others.
Kaikeyi is first introduced in The Ramayana as the wife of the King along with the mother of Bharatha, she is taking up her son’s claim that he should in truth be the valid king. Kaikeyi is overcome by this fact, a fact that does not truthfully involve her as she is the mother and has no true role in this type of politics. She is manipulated through Kooni because she is so overcome by her own ego: “And you owe your position as the queen of a world conqueror to your beauty?” . She is further more manipulated into fear because of the knowledge that her beauty will fade and then she will have nothing left. She is even driven to listen to the advice of Kooni because she is so concerned about her future position in society. She is so upset that she may be lesser than her fellow wives that she will take any advice she can get about furthering her son’s position in Indian society: “Before that’s lost, get your husband to help you and save yourself. Get up and act before it’s too late.” Even though she first claims happiness it goes back to the fact that Bharatha should be king, as she learns from Kooni. She is completely controlled by Kooni and instead of going to her husband to sort matters out; she decides to take everything into her own hands. She puts it upon herself to banish Rama, despite the fact she knows her husband’s feelings about him. She takes everything that Kooni says for pure fact even though most of it hasn’t happened yet, nor there never any indication of it ever happening. Kaikeyi does not respond to her husband’s pleas for some sort of understanding of his son’s behalf, but she sends Rama away because the King himself cannot bring himself to do it. She shows no mercy, even though she is a mother that formerly had some...

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