The Ramayana

The Ramayana Characters

Rama

Rama is the titular protagonist and the first son of King Dasaratha. Though in this story Rama is a human, he's actually an avatar of the god Vishnu, who decided to take a… (read full character analysis)

Sita

Sita is Rama's wife and the incarnation of the goddess Lakshmi, Vishnu's wife—Sita was literally made for Rama. In the human world, King Janaka found the infant Sita in a plowed field and… (read full character analysis)

Lakshmana

Lakshmana is Rama's half brother, and son to King Dasaratha. The two are very close, and Lakshmana represents the ideal brother. He chooses to go with Rama when the sage Viswamithra asks for… (read full character analysis)

Ravana

Ravana is a rakshasa (demon) with ten heads and ten sets of arms, and is the king of the island Lanka. Long before Rama's birth, Ravana acquired powers from the gods Brahma and Shiva(read full character analysis)

Hanuman

Hanuman is a monkey who initially serves Sugreeva. In his childhood, Hanuman's father told Hanuman to dedicate his life to serving Vishnu. Hanuman is the first monkey to realize that Rama is an… (read full character analysis)
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Dasaratha

Dasaratha is the emperor of Kosala and Rama’s father. He has three wives, Kausalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumithra, none of whom have children, but after offering specific sacrifices, he has four sons… (read full character analysis)

Sugreeva

Sugreeva is a monkey from Kiskinda. His brother, Vali, banished him from the kingdom because he believed that Sugreeva tried to usurp the crown, though Sugreeva remained honorable and loyal to his brother's claim… (read full character analysis)

Vali

Vali is the initial king of the monkeys in Kiskinda. He's a very powerful being in his own right, but he also has the special power of being nearly invincible. When someone wishes to fight… (read full character analysis)

Bharatha

Bharatha is the son of Dasaratha and Kaikeyi. Like his brothers, Bharatha is a skilled warrior and exceptionally thoughtful. He is extremely angry when he hears that Kaikeyi forced Dasaratha to name him as… (read full character analysis)

Kaikeyi

Kaikeyi is Dasaratha's favorite wife and the mother of Bharatha. Though she's a kind and generous woman at heart, her companion Kooni encourages Kaikeyi to behave jealously and blackmail Dasaratha into crowning Bharatha… (read full character analysis)

King Janaka

King Janaka is Sita's adoptive father and the king of Mithila. He cares deeply for Sita, and to protect her from possibly having to marry an unworthy man, he declares that any suitor must… (read full character analysis)

Soorpanaka

Soorpanaka is Ravana's demoness sister. Though her demon form is horrific, with long fangs, a distended belly, and wild hair, she's also capable of assuming the form of a beautiful woman. She falls madly… (read full character analysis)

Kooni

Kooni is a hunchback woman and one of Kaikeyi's companions. When Rama was a child he made fun of her deformities and threw clay balls at her, which causes Kooni to harbor ill will… (read full character analysis)

Vishnu

Vishnu is one of the gods that make up the Hindu Trinity (alongside Shiva and Brahma). Vishnu is referred to as the protector. In his divine form, he carries a conch and a wheel… (read full character analysis)

Brahma

Brahma is one of the gods that comprises the Hindu Trinity, along with Shiva and Vishnu. Brahma is the creator and has four faces. Though Brahma initially granted Ravana boons that made him very… (read full character analysis)

Indra

Indra is a lesser god in Hindu mythology. He becomes obsessed with the perfect woman, Ahalya, and tricks her into having sex with him before assuming the body of a cat to escape. As… (read full character analysis)

Jatayu

Jatayu is a great eagle and was at one point a dear friend of Dasaratha. When he comes across Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita in the forest, he vows to stay alive and… (read full character analysis)

Mareecha

Mareecha is Thataka's son and Ravana's uncle. Though he's a demon, he attempts to correct his life by giving up his violent ways and praying. When Ravana threatens him, however, Mareecha agrees to… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Shiva
With Brahma and Vishnu, Shiva is one of the gods that makes up the Hindu Trinity. He's referred to as the destroyer. Shiva is one of the gods who granted Ravana the boons that made him powerful, and he assists Brahma and Vishnu in orchestrating Ravana's later downfall.
Kamban / The Poet
Kamban was a medieval poet who composed a Tamil translation of the Ramayana. The narrator uses Kamban's version as source material to write this edition of the Ramayana, and refers to Kamban as "the poet" when describing how he refers to certain plot points or descriptions.
Vibishana
Vibishana is Ravana's youngest brother. He's the most logical and good-hearted of all Ravana's brothers and tries to convince Ravana to release Sita. When Ravana refuses and banishes him, Vibishana joins Rama's army and offers intelligence on Ravana's weapons and army that allow Rama to plan a successful attack.
Lakshmi
Lakshmi is a Hindu goddess and the god Vishnu's wife. She incarnates as Sita when Vishnu incarnates as Rama.
Kausalya
Kausalya is Rama's mother and Dasaratha's wife. She's devoted to her husband and loves her fellow wives' sons as her own.
Sumithra
Sumithra is the mother of the twins Lakshmana and Sathrugna, and one of Dasaratha's wives.
Viswamithra
Viswamithra is a sage, though he was once a powerful king. He teaches Rama about weaponry.
Angada
Angada is the son of Tara and Vali. He's an instrumental figure in Rama's fight against Ravana.
Thataka
Thataka is the first demoness that Rama kills. She eats everything that crosses her path, and her evil spoils the land and turns it into a desert.
Sampathi
Sampathi is Jatayu's brother. He's disfigured because the sun god burnt him many years ago. When he meets Angada and Hanuman, he hears Rama's name and this restores Sampathi to his original, majestic form.
Tara
Tara is initially Sugreeva's wife, but becomes Vali's wife when Vali banishes Sugreeva. She has one son, Angada.
Sathrugna
Sathrugna is Lakshmana's twin and the son of Dasaratha and Sumithra. He helps Bharatha rule in Rama's absence, and helps Rama enter into exile safely.
Sumithra
Sumithra is Dasaratha's third wife. She's the mother of the twins Lakshmana and Sathrugna.
Ahalya
Brahma created Ahalya to be the most beautiful and perfect woman. The god Indra tricked Ahalya into having sex with him, and as punishment, Ahalya's husband cursed her to turn to stone until she hears Rama's name.
Kara
Kara is a demon warrior who serves Ravana and protects Soorpanaka. Rama kills him.
Indrajit
Indrajit is one of Ravana's sons. He wholeheartedly supports his father.
Kumbakarna
Kumbakarna is one of Ravana's brothers. He's massive, violent, and a deep sleeper—it takes an entire army to wake him.
Matali
Matali is the driver of the god Indra's chariot. The gods send him to assist Rama in the battle with Ravana.