The Ramayana

Kaikeyi Character Analysis

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 king instead of Rama. Kaikeyi is able to do this because she saved Dasaratha's life years ago and he granted her a boon in thanks, which she chose to redeem at a later date. When Rama returns from exile, Kaikeyi accepts him as the rightful king and appears to have realized the error of her earlier actions.

Kaikeyi Quotes in The Ramayana

The The Ramayana quotes below are all either spoken by Kaikeyi or refer to Kaikeyi. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Heroism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of The Ramayana published in 2006.
3. Two Promises Revived Quotes

"My father's name is renowned for the steadfastness of his words. Would you rather that he spoke false? ... I am thrice blessed, to make my brother the King, to carry out my father's command, and to live in the forests. Do not let your heart grieve."

Related Characters: Rama (speaker), Dasaratha, Bharatha, Kaikeyi, Kausalya
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:
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"I'll be the fate to overpower fate itself," said Lakshmana, with martial arrogance. Rama argued with him further. "I'll change and alter fate itself, if necessary..."

Related Characters: Lakshmana (speaker), Rama, Dasaratha, Bharatha, Kaikeyi
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:
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"Oh, impossible thought—did he commit a wrong? But if Rama committed a seemingly wrong act, it would still be something to benefit humanity, like a mother forcibly administering a medicine to her child."

Related Characters: Bharatha (speaker), Rama, Kaikeyi
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:
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Kaikeyi Character Timeline in The Ramayana

The timeline below shows where the character Kaikeyi appears in The Ramayana. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Heroism Theme Icon
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...three wives, who will then have children. Within the year, Kausalya gives birth to Rama, Kaikeyi gives birth to Bharatha, and Sumithra bears the twins Lakshmana and Sathrugna. Dasaratha dotes on... (full context)
3. Two Promises Revived
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
The narrator says that Dasaratha's fear was valid. Kooni, a hunchbacked companion of Bharatha's mother, Kaikeyi, is perturbed at the fact that Rama is going to be crowned. She wakens Kaikeyi... (full context)
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Kaikeyi remains indifferent to Kooni and insists that Rama will be a kind king. Kooni, however,... (full context)
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Later that night, Dasaratha goes to find Kaikeyi, but a maid tells him that she's in the part of the house reserved for... (full context)
Heroism Theme Icon
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Kaikeyi asks Dasaratha to swear to make good on the boons he promised her years ago.... (full context)
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Dasaratha feels ill and calls Kaikeyi a demon. He stays with her all night and tries to talk her out of... (full context)
Heroism Theme Icon
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Storytelling, Teaching, and Morality Theme Icon
...king. When the minister enters the room, he's startled to see Dasaratha look so unwell. Kaikeyi asks for Rama. When Rama arrives, Dasaratha nearly faints. Kaikeyi explains what happened and tells... (full context)
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...attracting the attention of the high priest. He joins Dasaratha and his wives and asks Kaikeyi for an explanation. She airily asks that the priest announce that there's a change in... (full context)
Heroism Theme Icon
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Storytelling, Teaching, and Morality Theme Icon
The priest revives Dasaratha, who asks if Kaikeyi has changed her mind. The priest implores Kaikeyi to change her mind, but she refuses.... (full context)
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Storytelling, Teaching, and Morality Theme Icon
Dasaratha desperately tries to take back his promise to Kaikeyi and disowns her and Bharatha. The priest goes to talk to Rama, and Dasaratha explains... (full context)
Heroism Theme Icon
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...Lakshmana emerge from the palace in their tree bark clothes, the crowd cries and curses Kaikeyi. The priest attempts to stop Rama a final time, but Rama resists and begins his... (full context)
Heroism Theme Icon
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Storytelling, Teaching, and Morality Theme Icon
...are empty. When he enters the palace he can't find his father, but soon finds Kaikeyi. When Bharatha asks after his father and brothers, Kaikeyi explains what happened. Bharatha is extremely... (full context)
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Bharatha goes to Kausalya and cries, convincing Kausalya that he had nothing to do with Kaikeyi's plan. Ministers fetch Bharatha so he can perform Dasaratha's funeral rites, though when Bharatha is... (full context)
14. The Coronation
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...with joy to see his father. Dasaratha says that he's spent many years dwelling on Kaikeyi's betrayal, but he can let it go now. He says that he's blessed to be... (full context)
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Dasaratha insists that Bharatha has already been forgiven, but says he can't forgive Kaikeyi. Rama lists all the reasons why Dasaratha should forgive Kaikeyi, and finally Dasaratha agrees. He... (full context)
Epilogue
Heroism Theme Icon
Storytelling, Teaching, and Morality Theme Icon
...earlier. Hanuman and Sugreeva took on human forms and were treated as honored guests. Even Kaikeyi had taken the 14 years to think about what she did and accepted Rama with... (full context)