What thematic element is present in The Ramayana that can be compared to other heroic narratives?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most compelling thematic elements that is present in The Ramayana which links with other heroic narratives is the change that is brought about after the quest.  When Lord Rama has defeated Ravana, there is a foundational change in the world.  The embodiment of lawlessness and ego has been subdued in favor of lawful order and a sense of control.  There is a change in the world when Ravana has been displayed as being second to Lord Rama.  At the same time, there is a change in how Lord Rama is compelled to see Devi Sita.  The change in the protagonist is noteworthy, as it reflects how the quest changes individuals.  The life that Lord Rama and Devi Sita lived before the abduction and quest is fundamentally different than the life they live after it.  The quest changes the individual who embraces it as well as the person who hears of it.  This is a theme that is common to the heroic narratives.  For example, Odysseus is changed by his narrative in Homer's retelling and the reader/ audience is changed as a result of hearing it.  The power of the quest is underscored by the change it brings about on those who embrace it and those who embrace hearing of it.  In this, the power of the hero is reinforced, making the reader recognize the submission they must have towards the individual strong enough to undertake and succeed in such an endeavor.  It is here where I think one can find a thematic element common to The Ramayana and other heroic retellings.