In the Ramayana there are many characters that portray dharma. Dharma being the principle of proper behavior, many of the characters was faced with challenging dilemmas throughout the book. The King Dasaratha was presented with many decisions that would affect his staying true to the belief in dharma. Here the king wanted to present his son Rama with the throne of Ayodhya, but in previous years had promised his wife two wishes, that were in fact for her son Bharatha be renounced king and for Rama to be exiled. With this in mind, King Dasartha had to make an ethical choice of whether or not to back down on his word to his wife Kaikeyi. In the end, keeping his promise was the proper thing to due in terms of dharma.
Rama showed greats feats of dharma. Being Vishnu incarnated, he was challenged with many great feats to greaten his sense of dharma. From the beginning of the book Rama handled every situation in a perfect example of what dharma stands for. Going into exile for fourteen years to help keep his fathers oath showed great selflessness on his behalf. .
A tragic example of poor practicing of dharma is that of Ravana. This supreme lord showed no remorse for stealing Rama's wife from him and keeping her hostage in Lanka. Even when the idea of surrendering Sita was proposed he would not submit to his own egotistic needs. He felt that he was a more powerful being over Rama and eventually was defeated because of his dreadful way of handling affairs.
All of the characters actions proved to be a test of dharma. In some cases, such as Ravana's, there was little or no thought into what was morally right, and in the long run he was killed in battle by Rama. In conclusion, I found in reading this book that dharma is viewed much like karma. If you uphold good moral values and try to do the right thing at all times, you will be greatly rewarded for your actions. .