An Extravagant Depiction of the Human World: Through the characters in The Mahabharata and The Iliad.

Proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on Social Science, Humanities and Education

Year: 2019


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An Extravagant Depiction of the Human World: Through the characters in The Mahabharata and The Iliad.

Pankhuri Aggarwal



Literature is fixed in time and space. However, works of literary merit gain universality and timelessness. Epics such as the Mahabharata and the Iliad are creative works that have surpassed the test of time. They have combined the timeless and the universal together, creating a tradition and a history that holds valid even after centuries. Both the epics are the fossils of civilization, more audacious and challenging than other epics written. They are historical artifacts providing answers to the questions of our existence. These stories edify the ethical values, customs, rituals and traditions of their respective societies. Both exhibit the impulses of the human spirit in intense forms. The two epics appeal to hearts and minds by their concern for human persona, nature, potentialities, the consequences of passion and desire for honour. Both the texts create a spectacular picture of the human world, through the portrayal of characters that have remained etched in memory. The paper will focus on a comparative analysis of the characters of the Mahabharata namely: Indra, Draupadi and Arjuna and the characters of the Iliad: Zeus, Helen and Achilles, respectively, each exhibiting common human sentiments. The characters of the Mahabharata and the Iliad are recognizable and understandable specimens of humanity in all its essential magnificence. A comparative analysis reveals that despite cultural gaps human beings share certain common tendencies and emotions. Thus analyzing the two epics, one from the eastern and the other from the western culture, the paper will highlight the commonalities between the characters of the Iliad and the Mahabharata.

Keywords: Universality; Timelessness; Ethical values; Rituals; Comparative Analysis.