The Function of similes within the Ramayaoa and Mahabharata: parallel features and differences between the two Sanskrit Epics
Cosi, Vita Antonella
The present thesis examines the role of similes within the Sanskrit Epics. Acknowledging the fact that, as a product of an oral tradition, both Epics display upamas which do not fulfil any specific function within the narrative, but are merely employed as “line-fillers”, this research investigates similes employed with a specific purpose within the texts. The methodology employed is the contextual analysis of passages drawn from both Epics: similes occurring within each section are translated and taken into account in the immediate context in which they occur. The current research suggests the following arguments: · That the range of similes employed within a passage is chosen according to the subject-matter of the passage, thus implying a connection between the subjectmatter and the ranges of upamanas employed. · That the similes often fulfil more than one purpose at a time: a secondary function often occurs when similes appear in sequences. · That each Epic displays comparisons whose function is specific to that Epic. · That Mahabharata and Ramayaoa display comparisons fulfilling a similar function when occurring in similar contexts. Comparisons are generally employed by the bard in order to draw the audience's focus on a particular moment within the narrative: the analysis of similarities and differences between the function of comparisons featured in each Epic suggests a more central role of similes within the non-verbal dialogue between the bard and the audience.