1. I think that the fact that Rama is portrayed as a “virtually perfect man’ does not make his character less boring than other heroes. I think that the author does a good job at showing specific examples of Rama doing the right thing when faced with a hard decision of whether to do the right or wrong thing. For example in the headnote it says, “Faced with disinheritance, RÄma sees clearly that a son’s highest duty is to honor his father’s word, even if it means giving up his kingdom’ (725). This gives good depth to the character and I think that is what makes a good story. Shortly after this quote the author talks about how RÄma was not only doing what his father wanted but also doing it to honor Dharma. This is a way of showing that he wasn’t born perfect; he was constantly working on doing the right thing to stay on a righteous path. His mother shows this same attitude when RamÄ is exiled. She is very sad and obviously does not want it to happen but she accepts that he must go and she puts her feelings out of sight, so to speak. This is an example of the Hindu belief that one should look to Dharma in every situation and do things that will lead them (or stay) on the path to Heaven.
2. Arjuna is afraid to fight because he does not want to fight his own people, “his family’ ans he says in line 37 of the poem. He does not think that fighting them would give him a victory, or any sort of happiness. His dilemma is much different than that of Achilles because he was really selfish and did not care who he killed. He just didn’t want to be in war because he was afraid of losing. Krishna tells Arjuna that he needs to do be detached and do it for honor not for himself. Medea wasn’t following a code when she killed her children; she was just doing it for revenge.
I agree with you on point number one that what the teaching about the dharma is telling its followers is that staying true to the dharma code is what is meant to be following by the righteous. This is often in direct conflict with what human emotions tell us to do sometimes, but the dharma is there to serve as a reminder to those beholden to it.