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Discussion of two myths: The Aneid and Ramayana - Term Paper Example

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Discussion of Two Myths: The Aneid and Ramayana The modern world is characterized by increasing global interaction, resulting in higher levels of conflict between different cultures and an increasing lack of cultural identity. While both the Aeneid and the Ramayana are tales of wandering heroes, the Latin epic The Aeneid mirrors the conflict that ensues when the seeker is in search of identity while conflicted with many different possible alternatives…
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Discussion of two myths: The Aneid and Ramayana
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Download file to see previous pages The Aenid myth was used as a communication tool to influence citizens, building national unity in Rome during a distresses political period that is analogous to patriotic propaganda found in contemporary media in many of today’s societies. The Aeneid was written during a time of strife in the Roman government, with the myth forming a building block that helped to stabilize cultural identity. Contrary to the content of the myth itself, Aeneas was considered to be the founder of Rome only by a few select Greek authors, while most Roman authors merely attributed some Trojan descent to Aeneas (Sculler 48-49). The first half of the Aeneid in particular stresses the theme that homeland is an ultimate source of identity by placing the characters in challenging situations as they wash up on foreign shores at the mercy of forces, gods and supernatural beings, much more powerful than themselves. As the plot progresses, the hero, Aeneas, is shown to grow from a character largely driven by destiny out of his control to a strong leader, one that is personally invested in his destiny, as exemplified by the Trojans journey from Carthage toward Italy in Book V, and by the depiction of Aeneas’ visit to his father in the realm of the dead in Book VI. Whereas the Aeneid emphasizes a hero that ultimately becomes the owner of his own destiny, the Ramayana conversely depicts a much more idealized set of characters that are driven largely by destiny. The Ramayana stresses the theme of obedience and societal order when Rama refuses Bharata’s request to return and rule based solely on his obligation to fufill his father’s wishes. These themes were tools of communication in India supported by sponsorship royalty and wealthy landowners who supported these ideals (Das 118). The Aeneid is relevant to the individual in modern society because it was used as a communication tool that emphasized the power of the individual to foster national unity. In the Ramayana, the traditional is emphasized for women. For instance, Rama’s journey begins when Kaikeyi uses her influence to make the King exile his son, suggesting that the female has power only by acting through a male. In the Aeneid, as in many Greek and Roman myths, a number of powerful female deities, including Aeneas’s mother Venus, are presented to be powerful in their own right. By acting independently, these females present forces without having to act through a male counterpart, stepping outside of the traditional women’s role of the time period. The Aeneid perhaps reflects the cultural difference found between the two myths’ origins. One example is found in the character Dido, who is portrayed influential in her effect on a society even as she descends in to madness that ultimately results in her suicide. Rome was on the forefront of women’s rights during its time. Unlike women in Greece, who lived in almost oriental seclusion as was considered proper during the era, the Roman female citizen, while still not able to vote, was given rights within the household including the ability to attend religious festivals and political meetings, and even granted the right to hold certain property under the Twelve Tables (Sculler 360). The Ramayana, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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