Hayavadana

by

Girish Karnad

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Hayavadana can help.

Kali Character Analysis

A Hindu goddess of death, Kali appears as various characters go to her temple throughout the play. Devadatta sacrifices his head to her, and Kali interrupts Padmini as she tries to kill herself as well. Kali revives Devadatta and Kapila, but only after Padmini has accidentally swapped their heads. When Hayavadana travels to her temple to ask her to make him a complete man, she instead makes him a complete horse. She demonstrates the indifference of the gods as well as their ability to sow chaos just as easily as they create order.
Get the entire Hayavadana LitChart as a printable PDF.
Hayavadana PDF

Kali Character Timeline in Hayavadana

The timeline below shows where the character Kali appears in Hayavadana. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Identity, Hybridity, and Incompleteness Theme Icon
Metatheatre and Storytelling Theme Icon
...but the Bhagavata thinks of one more temple he might try: that of the goddess Kali. He says that thousands of people used to flock to her temple, but people stopped... (full context)
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
...of the various sites around them, including the temple of Rudra and the temple of Kali. (full context)
Identity, Hybridity, and Incompleteness Theme Icon
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
Metatheatre and Storytelling Theme Icon
...Remembering his vow to sacrifice his arms and head, Devadatta goes off to temple of Kali. He shouts a short, anguished prayer in which he says that his head will be... (full context)
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
...worry about Devadatta when they cannot find him, and so Kapila follows his footprints to Kali’s temple. When he discovers Devadatta’s body, he is filled with anguish at his friend’s death,... (full context)
Identity, Hybridity, and Incompleteness Theme Icon
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
Metatheatre and Storytelling Theme Icon
Indian Culture and Nationalism Theme Icon
...men in the afterlife as well and picks up a sword to kill herself, but Kali stops her. Kali reveals her annoyance that the men didn’t care about sacrificing their heads... (full context)
Identity, Hybridity, and Incompleteness Theme Icon
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
Metatheatre and Storytelling Theme Icon
When Kali revives Devadatta and Kapila, they (along with Padmini) quickly realize that something is wrong. Padmini... (full context)
Act 2
Identity, Hybridity, and Incompleteness Theme Icon
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
Metatheatre and Storytelling Theme Icon
...with a horse body as well as a horse head. He explains that he asked Kali to make him complete, but she cut off his request and made him a complete... (full context)