Rama is the seventh Avatar of Vishnu and is the hero of the Ramayana. In the Ramayana, sage Valmiki has symbolized Rama as an ideal of perfection. In the life of Rama each facet of human personality is seen projected to absolute perfection. He was a perfect son, an ideal king, a true husband, a real friend, a devoted brother, a noble enemy etc.
On the eve of Rama's coronation, all the subjects of Ayodhya were eagerly waiting for the coronation and Rama himself was aware of his duty to them. His stepmother Kaikeyi's demand to have Rama's younger brother Bharat crowned and send Rama away to the forest was preposterous to say the least in the light of irresistible love that his parents bore for him and he for them. Rama went to the forest to fulfull his father's promise to Kaikeyi and performed his duty as a true son.
Lord Rama carried his bow and arrow all the time. This symbolizes his alertness and readiness to fight against iniquity and thus establish justice and peace. Sita-Rama is one soul in two bodies. This is the ideal couple unparalleled in the whole history of man-kind.
Shiva is one of the gods of Trinity. He is the God of destruction. He is married to Goddess Parvati (Uma). Lord Shiva not only represents the supreme state of perfection in man, but in his very pose indicates the way to reach it as well. His eyes are half-closed. It is called Samabhavee mudra. It signifies that his mind is absorbed in the inner Self while his body is engaged in the outer world. The state of meditation shown in Shiva's posture is again symbolic. Meditation is the final gateway to self realization.
On the auspicious occasion of Mahasivaratri, Shiva performs the ecstatic dance of realization. The dance pose Shiva is known as Nataraja. Shiva is said to have the third eye known as gyana chaksu - means eye of wisdom and its vision reaches beyond that of two mortal eyes.
Shiva is sometimes shown with his trident (trisula) in his hand. The trisula is the three pronged weapon which symbolizes the destruction of the ego with the three-fold desires of the body, mind, and intellect.