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Ramayana and Traditional Characteristics of an Epic

            Objective: Using the characteristics of an epic, explain how each is demonstrated through the story of Ramayana.
             There are six common characteristics of an epic, and they are mostly general in nature: the hero is a male of high position in society, the story involves the heavens or the underworld, the hero's actions reflect the values of a culture, the plot is complicated by supernatural beings or a dangerous journey, the tone is serious, and it pays attention to universal themes like good and evil. All six traits are clearly portrayed in the story of Ramayana.
             The most basic characteristic of an epic is a male hero of high position in society. Ramayana is a man and is next in line to be king of India. In order to put an end to Ramayana's ascension to the throne, his stepmother has him exiled to the woods on the outskirts of the city. The next characteristic that would classify this story as an epic would be that the character's actions reflect the values of a culture. When Rama is battling Ravana, the demon, for a very long time, Ravana passes out. .
             The fact that Ramayana does not kill him while he is unconscious proves him to be truly good and attentive to the virtues of his culture. "Presently [Ravana] collapsed in a faint on the floor of his chariot.Matali whispered to Rama, 'This is the time to finish off that demon. He is in a faint. Go on.' But Rama.said, 'It is not fair warfare to attack a man who is in a faint. I will wait. Let him recover.' And waited."" (Narayan 138). The next evident characteristic of an epic is that it should involve the heavens or underworld. .
             Rama's chariot flies up to the heavens during the battle, and both chariots fly their riders in circles around each other. An epic would also be complicated by supernatural being or a dangerous journey. The gods who send Ramayana's chariot clearly favor him, possibly because he was said to be the incarnation of the god Vishnu.

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