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Mythical stories such as the Beowulf and Ramayana provide insight regarding the norms and cultural values promoted by different societies. These Myths provide information that it is in the best interest of the individual and the overall society to operate as per the guidelines set by the society. These guidelines help individuals identify their duties and responsibilities and the difference between right and wrong.
Beowulf following the cultural values of what is categorized as the early years of medieval England is witnessed as a warrior who is in young age. As per cultural expectations he performed his duties of a warrior while depicting the traits of courage and strength. He is witnessed as a person who fought for the security of his king and the people who his king wanted to protect. The period in which the story is set, kingdoms were supposed to be protected against external threats. This means that, kingdoms were only involved in war when they were attacked first (Rosenberg 381). Beowulf followed these guidelines and killed his kingdom’s enemies including Grendel and its mother when they attacked the kingdom (Rosenberg 402). In comparison to Beowulf, Ravana operated against those cultural values of Hinduism that were highly celebrated. The story of Ramayana was set in a period when the society expected kings to operate in a pious manner and avoid war and confrontation. These values were well observed by Rama who was the ruler of Ayodhya. But Ravana, stood against these values and instead motivated Rama to fight a war with him by kidnapping his wife Sita (Rosenberg 309).
Beowulf belonged to the era where hires of thrones were expected to act in a loyal manner to the kings who they were supposed to replace. Beowulf following these guidelines did not become restless and try to gain the kingship. This has been depicted in the story as he was a very powerful being and still he continued to protect the king instead of killing him and claiming the throne for himself. He was only promoted to the throne as the king after the king he was serving died (Rosenberg 406). In comparison to Beowulf, Ravana acted against the values of obedience that were promoted by Hindu culture. In the myth of Ramayana, it has been depicted that Hindu culture promotes obedience in the shape of Rama not claiming the throne in order to protect the honor and word of his father (Rosenberg 305). Contrary to those values, Ravana did not act in an obedient manner as even when he was advised that it would be wrong of him to kidnap wife of Rama, he went against the advice and kidnapped Sita (Rosenberg 309).
The medieval England society’s kings were expected to stay alive and protect their kingdom from external and internal threats. They themselves had to be protected by the warrior and remain at the throne. Beowulf ended up operating against the cultural responsibilities expected off him by the society. He instead took a front seat while fighting with the dragon and instead of putting the lives of his warriors in danger, he went on to fight the dragon. While fighting the dragon he lost his life and left his people vulnerable to external threat (Rosenberg 411). In comparison, Ravana does not even abide by the cultural values of peace promoted by Hindu culture. He was offered a chance to free Sita, Rama’s wife. Instead, he choose to fight a war and the outcome was that he lost badly to Ram.
Rosenberg, Donna. World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics. Lincolnwood, Ill: NTC, 2001. Print.
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