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Leading Female Roles in Ramayana

Leading Female Roles in Ramayana

Norton’s version of Valmiki’s Ramayana had several leading female roles which included the following- Sita, Kaikeyi, Kausulya, Supranahka, and a variety of Ravana’s demonesses. Of these, Sita had the prominent role throughout the story. Each of these characters played an important role to the story line. The female characters’ role throughout the story is of love and compassion to their male counterparts. I will concentrate on several of them- the mothers Kaikeyi, Kausulya, Sita, and certain demonesses.

Both Kaikeyi and Kausulya are portrayed as loving mothers of their respective sons, Bharata and Rama. Kaikeyi took the opportunity for her own self-interests to get her own son the kingdom. This action protected her from Rama and gave her more power to establish a matriarch. Her role within the story is limited, yet her self-interest gave way for the storyline to develop. Kaikeyi comes across to me as a jealous, power-hungry person because of her actions. Kaikeyi is perceived the same way by other characters within the story with the exception of Rama who though this was “the will of the divine.”

On the other hand, Rama’s natural mother Kausulya is portrayed as a loving mother of her only son. She could not let Rama go through the ordeal of living like a hermit. When she tells Rama of the pain and anguish she suffered from the King and other wives, the reader would feel sorry for her. She had the one chance to live a life of comfort and that was abruptly pulled away briskly on the eve of Rama’s coronation to the throne. When she realized Rama could not be convinced to change his mind, Kausulya gave praise to her son for standing up to Kaikeyi’s wishes. Also, she prayed for his safety and success. Another common feature that Kausulya depicts, like the other female characters, is the recurring love and compassion theme.

Sita is the central female character of the story. Right from her first words in this version of the Ramayana, I could tell her immense love for Rama. “….without you, even heaven is hell.” (Pg. 901). Throughout their adventures, Sita shows displays her love and faithfulness to Rama. She comes across to the reader as a bit arrogant and demanding, yet still abiding to...

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