Ramayana, translated by William Buck, is an ancient Indian epic telling the story of a prince named Rama who fights against his adversary, Ravana. Although there are many important female characters throughout the book, they are often seen as subordinate to their male counterparts where intelligence and strength are concerned. One character who proves this stereotype wrong is Sita, Rama’s wife, who often shows that she has the capacity of being just as powerful as the men of the story. By being more mindful than most people around her, Sita defies the expectations that many characters have placed on her. Sita lets the reader see another side of women’s power and shows us the strength that women could have. The reason that Sita proves to be powerful is that she seems to have an understanding of the deeper meaning of her life; precisely the quality that men don’t expect her to have.
Many men in the epic dismiss women’s abilities, or the possibility that they could be equals. Often, they write women off as not being intelligent. When Vali, the monkey king’s brother, tells his wife, Tara, that “the only reason to consult a woman is to find out what not to do” (Buck 196), implying that women cannot understand life or have authority. Vali completely ignores the validity of Tara’s argument because he perceives her, and all women, to be less intelligent than he. Vali’s opinion in this scene speaks to the larger view of women’s intellect throughout this epic. Women are also