Global civilizations have varied ways they use to revere women and pick specific ways to pass down the tales to their generations and to the rest of the world, which explain these chosen ways exhaustively. Teachings are enhanced and emphasized on how women should be regarded and on the ways of improving this perception. In order to determine how civilized the nation is and what level of morality and spiritualism a certain culture has, it is best define how its people consider and value their women. In traditional or ancient tales, it was common to pair female and male gods in spiritual representation so as to use and combine the influence and attributes each held in the best way; thus we come to our two examples of Dido and Aeneas and of Sita and Rama.
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Sita hailed from King Janaka, who ruled over Mithila (Naravan 5). The king actively participated in farming to assist in food production that would meet the needs of his subjects during the famine. While he was farming, he was using a golden plough and once he dug up a pitcher from which Sita emerged. The name given to her was the name of the edge of a plough, thus it meant ‘borne of the plough’. At that instant an evil spirit named Ravana had collected his dues from the local wise men, which had put in that buried pitcher their blood. When the pitcher was dug out, the force of life represented by the wisemen’s blood brought Sita into existence, thus the reason for Ravana’s demolition. She was married to Lord Rama, but the two were exiled by the Rama’s father due to a promise made to his younger wife, who did not want Rama to inherit the throne. When they wandered the forest, Ravana kidnapped Sita and tried to make her accept marriage to him, but she did not do that. Rama and his brother searched for her and discovered Ravana’s ploy, they got to his place and rescued Sita, while destroying Ravana. Some doubts arose about the purity of Sita, who has spent so much time with Ravana, and Rama had to exile her into the forest, where she gave birth to twin sons. Sita is depicted as an innocent and uncontaminated woman, who maintained this through her difficult life (Naravan 5). She surrendered all comfort for her faithful and moral service to Rama, her husband. She had to withstand fire and resist burning to prove her fidelity to her husband and protect Rama’s image as a king, as if her ordeal with Ravana was not a torture enough. She did this lovingly and willingly for her husband’s sake.
Dido, a Carthage queen, on the other hand, died for the love’s sake. She could not stand Aeneas departure for duty in Troy, thus committed suicide, which she preferred to living without him. He, in turn, understood her reaction long before his departure (Vigil 127). She was a princess in the State of Tyre. When her father, the King, passed away, her evil brother murdered her husband, who was wealthy. The husband’s Ghost later revealed his death and showed Dido where his treasures were hidden. She took the treasure and fled to Carthage; and we see how intelligent she is, when she exchanges her wealth for what she could contain with a skin from a bull. She stripped the skin and formed an arc with it shaping out a land that curved towards the sea and so came to reign over the land as the queen. This is how Aeneas met her through his goddess mother, who made Dido fall in love with him.
The two tales therefore represent two different cultures, whereby women are highlighted in the lives of two great men on a mission, which is considered as great and important for their husbands. This shows that both societies had recognition for the man’s purpose and determination to pursue it; also their wives or women in their lives understand that and support them. It is evident that women had little choice in the decision made and were not meant to act as obstacles, but appreciate and acknowledge the husbands quests. The women in both cultures are shown to endure or face hostile situations for the sake of abiding by their husband’s or men’s will. Both societies and cultures recognize this supportive role and depict women’s submissive nature. It should be noted that both women are born royal and can easily get a man and life they desire, but they take an alternative route that is meant to serve their men as long as they are alive.
The contrast is in how the two women react. In Sita’s case, she totally devotes her service and life to exalt her husband and even though her final position is in doubt, she stays faithful to bear sons for the king. Dido, on the other hand, could not handle her rejection and resorts to suicide. This is symbolic of the two societies. It reflects the difference in reactions and strength of the women and thus the whole society. Despite her position of power as a Queen, Dido cannot use her powers to stop Aeneas from leaving. She understands his course and decides to stay back and suffers in silence. She has material wealth and power more than the man in her life, but she maintained a submissive role. Sita had virtue, righteousness, faithfulness, and loyalty of service and considered the husband as being right. Her case was different because the husband had the power. She still could have stayed back and left when asked to, but she stayed on out of respect for the man she loved and for the sake of her children.
Therefore Sita’s immolation represented her willingness to go to any length to prove her fidelity, as well as save the image of her husband, while Dido’s suicide serves to show her devotion and recognition of the fact that life was not worth living without her man Aeneas. Both endings are meant to indicate the fact that women are given the powers that men quest for, but they are responsible for using them in a respectful manner and sharing this knowledge with the rest of the society.
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