Study Guide

The Ramayana

by Vālmīki

The Ramayana Characters

Characters Discussed (Great Characters in Literature)

Rama

Rama, King Dasa-ratha’s son, partly an incarnation of Vishnu. The handsomest and strongest of the king’s four sons, he wins Sita for his bride by bending the mighty bow of King Janak. Although his aging father wishes him to become regent, he is forced by Queen Kaikeyi into a fourteen-year exile, from which he finally returns triumphant to his throne.

Sita

Sita, Rama’s wife, the daughter of King Janak and the Earth Mother. She accompanies her husband into exile and is abducted by Ravan. Although she manages to remain faithful to Rama during her captivity, rumors of unfaithfulness are spread abroad and believed by her husband and the people. Finally, her virtue is proved, but the Earth Mother takes her away from those who have doubted her.

King Dasa-ratha

King Dasa-ratha, Rama’s father, king of the Kosalas, who wishes his son to be regent but must send him, instead, into exile because of an old promise made to Queen Kaikeyi.

Queen Kaikeyi

Queen Kaikeyi, one of King Dasa-ratha’s wives and the mother of Bharat. Promised two boons by her husband, she asks that Rama be sent into exile and that Bharat be made regent.

Bharat

Bharat, Rama’s half brother. Although forced into the regency by Queen Kaikeyi, he recognizes Rama’s claim to the throne, which he holds for him.

Lakshman

Lakshman, Rama’s loyal brother and his companion during his exile.

Satrughna

Satrughna, another of Rama’s half brothers.

Mandavi

Mandavi,

Urmila

Urmila, and

Sruta-kriti

Sruta-kriti, Rama’s sisters-in-law.

King Janak

King Janak, Sita’s father, who offers her as a bride to the one who bends his mighty bow.

The Earth Mother

The Earth Mother, Sita’s mother, who takes her daughter back among the gods when her virtue is questioned by Rama and his people.

Ravan

Ravan, the Demon King of Lanka. He abducts Sita but is finally overthrown by Rama.

Bharad-vaja

Bharad-vaja,

Vlmki

Vlmki, and

Agastya

Agastya, hermits and holy men.

Hanuman

Hanuman, a leader of the monkey people.

Manthara

Manthara, Queen Kaikeyi’s maid.