“I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men; they are far superior and always have been”, – William Golding.
In ancient epics, women are treated much differently than men, but perhaps not for the reasons readers often expect. Perhaps, the men are afraid of the great potential and strength women possess. Although women are not treated quite as poorly as they were in ancient times, they are still often overlooked and underestimated, just as they were then.
‘The Ramayana’ is an epic of ancient India that doesn’t explicitly focus on women, but there is a female character that is important to the plot. Sita is the loyal wife of King Rama. She represents women that are good, beautiful on the inside and the outside. Basically, she was the ideal woman. When her husband was banished to the forest, she stayed by his side and went with him, “when she was told Rama had lost his kingdom, she was silent. But when she heard he was going to the forest, she only said: ‘I will come with you’” (The Ramayana, Book 2). Then, when she was taken to Lanka by Ravana, she kept herself innocent by focusing on Rama throughout her long confinement. When she finally returned, she proved her purity to Rama, but he still tested her innocence, in obedience to his people, “…prepare the pit… Sita’s life is not needed at all. Let her be burnt in the fire and her shame removed” (The Ramayana, Book 9). Although the testing of Sita does not directly relate to her personal character, it reveals the personality of Rama, how he was not brave enough to stand up for his dedicated wife. During Sita’s complicated journeys, she stayed calm and her self-control is something to be admired. Rama appears to have a weaker conscience than Sita, due to his peer-pressured decision and her composed reaction.
Although mankind has greatly advanced since the age when ‘The Ramayana’ was told, women are still sometimes looked over and seen as inferior to men in certain aspects. However, William Golding’s statement still rings true today, because although women occasionally face adversity in the workplace, the government, or even in their homes, their will power and composure is still evident. So, even if they do not get hired for the certain manager positions or elected as government official, women have been and always will be superior to men.