The Odyssey and The Ramayana

Compare The Odyssey and The Ramayana.


The stories The Odyssey and The Ramayana are similar in many ways but the characters themselves are a bit different. In both of the stories, characters are able to do some sort of magic. In The Odyssey, Athena was able to disguise herself as another person. In The Ramayana, Viswamitra taught Rama some chants so he could be able to summon powerful weapons whenever he wanted to. Also, in The Odyssey and The Ramayana, both of the women stayed faithful to their husbands. Penelope did not give in to the suitors when they were trying to woo her and all Sita spoke about when she was captured by Ravana was her husband. Rama even tested Sita when he rescued her from Ravana to make sure that she was truly loyal. Even though their stories were similar, they had very different characteristics. When Rama left the kingdom after he was banished, he decided to let Sita go along with him. When Odysseys went away to war for many years, he left behind his wife and family. Also, Odysseys used his cunning and a deceitful ways to get out of trouble, the story mostly focused on how much he lied rather than his violence. Rama, on the other hand, was an honest man that used his holiness and knowledge to come out winning in the end.

2 thoughts on “The Odyssey and The Ramayana

  1. It is truly fascinated us on how we figure out the beliefs and values by perceiving their characteristics and activities through out the story. Homer try to shows us the ancient Greeks values. Odysseus is his model, all the lies are the interpretations of wisdom. On the other hand Rama represents the ideal model of good king and leader. Sanskrit values more on loyalty, courage and knowledge. The hold of different beliefs distinguish the characteristics of two heroes.

  2. You hit on a central problem in interpreting these two epics, namely, that Odysseus is, as you say, “cunning and deceitful,” but we have, as you intimate, little to no evidence to suggest that Homer thought this was a bad thing; it very well be a good thing, or a virtue (as Romans would say) or a form of excellence or arete (pronounced ah-ray-tay, as the Greeks would say). On the other hand, you are again right that Rama’s “holiness and knowledge” are what bring him to succeed, but it seems that his kind of knowledge is quite different from Odysseus’s: it is knowledge of himself (so, of his own godliness) and of the godhead of which we are all part, in the Hindu worldview. One might say this is one of the central differences between the two epics: they present us with quite different heroes. Great work!

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