Women in "Mahabharata" and "Ramayana"
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This paper analyzes how two classic epics reveal the different sides of women from the Hindu perspective. The author shows how "Mahabharatas'" character Satyavathi portrays the female as being cunning, aggressive, bold and powerful, while "Ramayanas'" Sita plays the role of the timid push-over.
From the Paper:"The reason it is mentioned here is because Jamison talks largely with reference to Mahabharata. She adds that women depicted in Mahabharata were all expected to adorn the role of "patni". She is requited to play "a crucial role in knitting together her community. By producing sons, she insures the linkage of generations and the continued veneration of the ancestors. By dispensing food and hospitality, she forges harmonious links between different segments of secular Aryan society. By her role in the srauta ritual (and by making such ritual possible), she links gods and men and allows the religious life of the community to proceed" (p. 254). However Jamison further adds that this is simply an outer rosy picture of the wife who is actually living a life of sacrifice and thus this picture only "puts a deceptively positive spin on the conceptual position of this wife." In fact, she continues, "all the linkages just mentioned are perilous and anxiety producing. Allotting the woman important roles there essentially make her into cannon fodder" (p. 254). She "incurs the risks of hospitality" in marital life precisely because she is "in essence a permanent 'guest,' almost a hostage to the proper hostly behavior of a set of functional strangers, her in-laws" (p. 255)."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Bettina L. Knapp, Women in Myth (Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1997)
- Faces of the Feminine in Ancient, Medieval, and Modern India, ed. Mandakranta Bose (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000)
- STEPHANIE W. JAMISON. Sacrificed Wife, Sacrificer's Wife: Women, Ritual, and Hospitality in Ancient India New York: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1996.
Cite this Book Review:
Women in "Mahabharata" and "Ramayana" (2010, June 29) Retrieved October 14, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/women-in-mahabharata-and-ramayana-128098/
"Women in "Mahabharata" and "Ramayana"" 29 June 2010. Web. 14 October. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/women-in-mahabharata-and-ramayana-128098/>