Is Rama an exemplary man for his society?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that it is difficult to find that Rama is not the perfect man for his social setting.  Rama always adheres to his function in society, his dharma.  He never lets his freedom stand in the way of social obligation.  Whereas Ravana seems to be the reality of unrestrained and individual freedom gone amuck, Rama is the archetype of control and focus.  It is no accident that his enemy of Ravana is a depiction of good vs. evil, judgment vs. irrationality, civilization vs. the jungle.  At all points in his narrative, Rama is able to stand up for the social values that are to be embodied.  Even though his father's second wife acts in a duplicitous way, Rama honors the wishes of his family and spends 14 years in the forest.  While Rama is battling Ravana, he follows the strict code of being a warrior and only kills when he absolutely needs to and does so in an honorable way.  Perhaps, the most stunning example of how Rama represents his society is his exiling Sita, the woman whom he loves, because he believes his people would not accept their queen having been in the territory of another man.  The fact that Rama sends his wife away after she was abducted because of the demands of his society is representative of how perfect a man Rama was for his society.

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