Author Archives: mpina
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The Ramayana of Valmiki is a story about a loyal wife named Sita who is married to Rama. This is a woman who cherishes her husband, yet her husband cannot accept her anymore because he thinks she is unfaithful. This story is in many ways used or once used as a tool from a feminist point of view. It displays the unjust treatment of a man towards his wife who has done absolutely nothing wrong. Sita complied with her husband’s every wish, she accepted the treatment and was even exiled by her husband and still did nothing. Although many would agree she is way too passive, one could argue she has reason to react like Medea did, but it is in this passiveness that one sees the true savagery in a man. It is in this passiveness that she inherits a level of admiration Medea is not worthy of. Sita is the most valuable charcter in the Ramayana.
The story of Gilgamesh displays the importance of friendship. Although he was man who was two-thirds of a God, he demonstrated weakness in his feelings for Enkidu. Gilgamesh went from being a man who challenged everyone, and slept with their wives, to a man who felt incomplete at the loss of his beloved Enkidu. This not only demonstrated a love amongst men (homosexual connotation) during a period in which such practices had never existed, but it also paved the way for a different idea of companionship, one that is not solely a typical male and female bond. The story of Gilgamesh also shows the corruption of man. They conquered their enemies simply to receive the title of most powerful; when in the end they proved two things to be true one, they (Gilgamesh and Enkidu) are not Gods, and two, they are subject to the same treatment as their foes death.
Beowulf served to be an interesting story both in the original version and the modern adaptations. Beowulf represents the typical Greek story of a warrior-king who meets his demise at the hands of his own ego. Like most Greek stories the main character shares a special relationship with another male character, one which has bonded through the battles they either fought against one another, or have fought alongside one another. Beowulf refers to his male companion as “weak love” throughout the story. What makes Beowulf’s story so unique is the transition Beowulf made to become king, the way he received such a royal position. Being King was not a position Beowulf aggressively sought after, it was one given by another king to liberate himself of a curse put forth by a demon, Grendlin’s mother. Beowulf not slaying Grendlin’s mother showed the importance of woman. The one thing a man like Beowulf could not beat was her temptation, she wooed him. Although Beowulf to be a mighty warrior he falls short in comparison to the immense power of a demon who interestingly was portrayed by a woman. She proved to be most powerful.
The story of Medea is one that has changed the perception of women in the world of literature. It is a story which displays the power of a woman who seeks revenge from her husband because she feels betrayed. Many of the modern adaptations of Medea show her as this passive woman who contemplates homicidal thoughts with respect to her husband, but the original version is much darker than that. Medea’s infamous decision to murder her children as a way to stop the blood line for her husband is interpreted by some as a monstrous act with no justification for her actions. On the other hand it is also interpreted by others including myself as a strategic plan that expresses her deep passion and love for her husband. Although it was selfish of her to murder their children, she took away all he had, similar to how he stripped her from her family by forcing her to set a curse on her loved ones.