ONLY CHOOSE ONE TOPIC FROM THOSE TOPIC I GIVE IT
1. Many scholars consider the Mahabharata to be the first text which examines the concept of a “just war.” Yet, one can easily argue that the war Rama fights with Ravan is due to more just a cause
than the war at Kurukshetra. Is the war being fought to preserve dharma and justice? Is Draupadi’s desire for personal revenge not too excessive? Is the annihilation of one’s own family to gain a
kingdom and avenge the insult to a woman as justifiable as killing an actual enemy? Explain to what extent you agree or disagree with the Pandavas’ decision to wage and fight the war and give
reasons for your answer.
2. Draupadi: feminist icon or tragic heroine?
3. Draw a comparison between Sita and Draupadi’s personalities.
4. Karna, hero or fool? Examine Karna’s tragic relationship to the Pandavas and conclude whether his ultimate actions were the result of his own pride or events set in motion by his immediate
5. Please examine what allegorical concepts the characters in the Mahabharata represent (Please note: this cannot be done for the entire work, only small groups of protagonists/antagonists).
6. The concept of karma is essential to both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The notion that every action has a reaction and that one can never escape the consequences brought on by their own
deeds manifests itself in countless episodes of the two epics. Decide whether, under such a belief system, injustice, grief, happiness or “bad” and “good” can really be said to exist, e.g. Is
Shakuni an antagonist, or someone who was dealt an unfair share in life? Had Bhishma not thought only of his father’s happiness, would the catastrophic events in the Mahabharata have taken place?
7. The caste system causes many tragedies and unfair treatments in the Mahabharata, many of which end tragically. This system was highly revered at the time and indeed many character histories and
personalities are carefully confined within stereotypical belief of what defines each caste. In the Bhagavad Gita however, Lord Krishna suggests that this system is futile and that anyone can
achieve salvation. What does this (along with other incidents such as Karna’s life, Kunti’s decisions etc.) suggest about the author’s view on the caste system. Carefully consider the fact that
Vyasa does not directly disagree with castes and his noblest characters still remain those born of the Kshyatria and Brahmin castes.
8. Krishna and Rama are the same personality – Lord Vishnu. However, although Rama is still highly revered throughout India and one could even argue that he is the more ideal character, Krishna has
gained infinitely more popularity. State what you believe are the reasons he seems to attract more sympathy.