The Story Of The Tain And The Mah Ā Bh Ā Rata Essay

1978 Words Dec 6th, 2016 8 Pages
In The Táin and the Mahābhārata, brothers slaughter and mourn over brothers, parents are separated from their children, and husbands and wives quarrel and grow apart; the ideals of these epics seem to suggest that avoiding desires and violence will resolve such familial conflict. However, it is difficult to generalize from these dramatic epics since they do not necessarily resolve conflicts within families or settle disputes realistically. Nonetheless, the texts offer explanations as to why dysfunctional relationships exist, in that The Táin points to materialistic desires as the root causes of familial disputes, while the Mahābhārata focuses on the conflicts between relative and absolute dharmas in forcing individuals to turn against one another. Although they come from strikingly different cultures, The Táin and the Mahābhārata both feature familial, and particularly marital, dysfunction, which arises from problems deeply rooted in sociocultural structures, such as class and diplomacy, and the desire for power.
Medb and Ailill are The Táin’s epitome of a dysfunctional couple in that they go to war over the petty issue of which of them possesses more wealth; their dysfunctional relationship primarily arises from their respective desires for control and their conceptions of power. Ailill initiates the argument by claiming that Medb is “much better off …today than the day [he] first married [her],” but Medb retorts that she was well enough without him (The Táin 52). Ailill’s…

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