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Ramayana Discussion Questions

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.

The Hindu epic poem, 'Ramayana', is a tale of love, deceit, honor, and loyalty and is revered as a Hindu guide for living. Use these discussion questions to help your high school-age students unravel the complexities of character, plot, and theme.

Ramayana by Valmiki

Ramayana was originally written in Sanskrit by the sage and poet Valmiki. It is a lengthy and sordid tale of love and betrayal, good and evil. It has a colorful cast of characters and all the trappings of a classic love story. Additionally, some revere this work as a sacred Hindu text that serves to share many important life lessons. Use these discussion questions to guide your high school-age students traverse the complexities of this epic. You may want to use the questions to engage in a one-on-one conversation with a single student or provide a list of questions to partners or teams. Additionally, consider asking students to respond in writing to one or more questions to serve as a summative assessment.

*Note: These questions are designed to be used after students have completed reading 'Ramayana'. Additionally, students will need a copy of the text during discussion to use as reference and find examples.

Questions about Characters

  • Describe the love between Rama and Sita in the beginning of the poem. Contrast that with their relationship during their time in exile. Discuss the differences in their relationship when Rama rescued Sita from Ravana. Did you expect Sita's feelings toward Rama to change? Do you think he truly trusted her innocence? Did his rejection represent any virtues, such as honor, loyalty, or devotion, or was it the opposite of virtue? Explain your reasoning.
  • What role do Hindu deities play in this story? How do they help the characters? Use examples from the text. What would have been the outcome if they had not intervened? Do you think there is spiritual assistance available when we need it? Why or why not?
  • When it is revealed that Rama is an incarnation of the god Vishnu, how does this change his relationship with Sita? Do you think he was more deserving of the crown because he was a deity? What makes a good king? Who was a better leader - Rama or his brother - and why?

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