Ramayan and Paradise lost deal with the theme of mythology. The ideas, events, and characters portrayed in these epics have a significant basis in reality. These myths that the authors write about were about tales that served as the basis for two very different cultures.
Dealing with these myths and symbols especially those that go beyond merely personal and that comprise of some connections to the wider ethnicity, it will be relevant to refer to the theory of archetypes which sees myths as originating from symbols stored in the collective unconscious. In this paper, women play a major role in the lives of their male counterparts. In Paradise Lost, Eve is seen as strong and props up Adam while In Ramayana, the women are subservient to their men.
John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost gives women a lot of credit for the male accomplishments. All the female characters in this epic were created by their male counterparts through loyalty, inspiration or submission, and were empowered. It was only through the females that their male’s characters were subsequently empowered to be able to create or make use of the creations they possessed (Empson 65). This is what differs with women in Ramayana.
The distinctive character that Eve portrays is seen as one of the signs acting as an embodiment from unconscious. This shows that the females were like the soul of the male beings which gave them life. With the soul’s plays of cunning illusions, the females lure into life the inert matter which is not keen on living and thus comes up with numerous snares to make man fall. This is seen when Eve in the Garden of Eden does everything possible to convince Adam of the righteousness of the forbidden fruit.
With the archetype of the woman, enters the realm of which everything she associates with becomes dangerous, magical, and taboo. Eve is characterized by the serpent existing in Adam’s safe haven with proper and honest intentions. Here, Eve succeeds in making Adam unconsciously succumb to her whims through her charming effects into the man’s silence that did not need awakening (Lewis 45).
The portrait of Eve in Milton’s Paradise lost is a literary portrait that represents one man’s conscious effort with a knowledgeable and definite personality and system of beliefs. Her decision to eat the fruit is connected with the wish for knowledge.
However, these attributes of isolation and individuation brings her out more than just a cultural sign. Milton expects that the man must be in the high position within the male and female relationship but he also concedes that with the absence of women, men would be without powers needed to execute the actions that are necessary for their development.
On the other hand, the female characters in Ramayana are seen as meek and submissive to their husbands. Even though their husbands were insensitive and acted according to will, the women remained loyal to them (Brockington 58). A case is when Urmila spent fourteen years feeding an oil lamp with oil to keep the flame burning.
She was afraid that if the flame was extinguished, then her husband’s life would end too. Throughout the story, the role of the female characters is that of love and compassion to the males. Both Kausula and Kaikeyi are portrayed as loving mothers to their sons Rama and Bharata.
They go out of their way to see that their sons live happily. They always prayed for their son’s success and safety and praised them when they made bold decisions. In Ramayan, Sita is the central character. However, her role is in sharp contrast to that of Eve. She is a clear archetype of fertility. The nature of the epic can make as easily classify Sita as the ideal type of female character who is fully individualized. In her introduction, Sita is referred by the writer as faithful.
This is a description which is further applied to her regularly in the epic. It foreshadows her resistance and trials to Ravan’s overtures. Her comparison to her husband’s shadow suggests that wives were inextricably linked to their husbands and that the wives were given a secondary role to the masculine substance (Dutt and Trans 101).
In Ramayana, women are portrayed as very vulnerable and unprotected by their husbands and such vulnerability led to Sita being kidnapped by Rama. Just like in Paradise Lost, there is that illusory desire to do good and the evidence that when a woman is separated from her protector, she becomes vulnerable to temptation and incarceration.
Both epics therefore illustrate that a woman’s desire for something else other than the highest good is engendered and results to terrible consequences such as the loss of the Garden of Eden in Paradise Lost and a horrific war in Ramayana. Most importantly, both essays speak of the vital role women play in the lives of men.
Brockington, Jerry. Righteous Rama: The Evolution of an Epic. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1984. Print.
Dutt, Richard., and Clay, Trans. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata. London: Dent, 1910. Print.
Empson, Wilson. Milton’s God. London: Chatto & Windus, 1961. Print.
Lewis, Scott. Preface to Paradise Lost. New York: Oxford University Press, 1942. Print.