- Rama accepts the hardships with which he is confronted, because he is devoted to dharma and believes that “prosperity and pleasure surely follow dharma’(731). He believes that his live can only be bettered by following his dharma. I think Rama is just as interesting as any other hero. I find it intriguing that he can whole heartedly and blindly follow dharma. I think this faith reveals an intricate character.
Rama seems to fall from perfection when Sita is kidnapped. Instead of trusting in dharma, he is stricken with grief and doubts the choice that he has made in leaving Sita alone as he did. He does not trust that this is the will of his god, or the path of dharma. It seems that the only way Rama can truly trust in dharma is if he distances himself from all emotion. In this way he is able to see past his own emotion to the will of god. This way of thinking fits with the Hindu practice of emptying the mind.
In the story we see how Kaikeya becomes ruled by her emotions and therefor sends Rama to the forest. She shows her lack of trust in dharma by attempting to put her favorite son on Rama’s throne. Although she attempts to use the boons for her own gain, in the end her actions were guided by the will of god.
- In the tale of Medea, Medea is caught in a struggle between what she considers to be her duty, and what she believes to be necessary. As a mother, she feels a responsibility for the welfare of her children. As a scorned wife she feels that her life is not worth continuing to live unless revenge is achieved.
Arjuna despairs because he faces an impossible choice: to kill his own relatives, or to abandon the fight entirely, therefor shirking his duty as a soldier. I believe that although “choice’ is an important theme in both of these stories, the motivations behind the heroes’ choices are vastly different. Media wishes to revenge herself. Her actions are totally self-seeking and self-promoting. Arjuna does not seem to be self-seeking. He does not seek revenge, but instead tries to discern how to harm none while retaining his honor.
This same struggle is mirrored in the story of Abraham. After being chosen by a God who has led Abraham in safety and promised him a good future, this same God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son. Abraham must now choose where his loyalties lie: with his son, who is his only earthly hope at decedents, or with God, who has power over the earth, Abraham’s life, and certainly over the life and death of Isaac. In this story Abraham is challenged to decide what holds ultimate importance, his own vision of life, or the vision of life held by God.