1) Any story which does not require a “triumph” is usually a poor effective motivator for morality or other sorts of life models. The fact that Rama is “perfect,” I believe is pointing out the perfectness in us all, so it’s not his deeds which are entirety of the story, but more the the fact of him being, him. It was interesting being told that he was perfect at the beginning because I found myself searching for any imperfections of his character, but reached the conclusion that “perfection” is purely in light of the cultural standard being depicted. Achilles would have been deemed perfect by any war driven society, as he indeed was. I do wonder if him appeasing the people by banishing his wife could be considered imperfect, because after all why is the crown worth more than his wife (and children). His mother Kausalya
Decided to use her boons to have her younger son become king, thus Rama was banished for 14 years in the forest. His mother did not have the complete dedication to dharma as Rama did, she could not find value in it when nothing she wished for became real. The meditation required is present in today’s Hindu cultural practices, yet it seems like Rama’s mother, not all are dedicated and few if any reach the desired pinnacle of Rama perfection.
2) Arjuna is afraid to fight because the opposing army consisted of their own blood. Consideration of who they are fighting and what it is worth can be found in numerous epics from many cultures. Achilles reconsiders his choice of war and contemplates settling down because the battles are not his, but others political disputes. Honor and glory were Achilles motivators, yet he would not be disrespected no matter whose side assaulted his pride. Madea on the other hand, was Arjuna’s position, but instead of reconsidering she found more elegant ways of murdering her closest family members. All these characters have conflict, but only for the greater good or self fulfilling “good.” Hinduism is against violence towards people or animals, but war is inevitable and questions of why violence should not be the answer was shown by Arjuna’s questions. Although the same type of questioning can be found in other epics, usually directed at a god. Many other religions point out the immoral nature of murder, and especial touch on the topic of the immorality of killing ones own kin. The primary route of thinking I believe all of these characters find the selves tangled in is whether or not everything they are ding is worth it.
Nice comments on perfectionism in terms of what society is deciding that. Makes a lot of sense!
I also really liked how to described the perfectionism. Very good point!