The Ramayana

Sita Character Analysis

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 raised her as his own. To protect her from unsuitable callers, Janaka set the test that any man who wished to marry Sita must be able to string Shiva's bow, which is an impossible task for a simple mortal man. Sita represents the ideal wife and woman: she's exceptionally loyal to her husband and follows him into exile; she's beautiful even when she's dressed in tree bark and under duress; and she passes every test of her faithfulness to Rama. Despite her positive qualities, however, Sita at times is vain, petulant, and disobedient. Her disobedience leads to her kidnapping by Ravana.

Sita Quotes in The Ramayana

The The Ramayana quotes below are all either spoken by Sita or refer to Sita. 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:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of The Ramayana published in 2006.
2. The Wedding Quotes

The sun set beyond the sea, so says the poet—and when a poet mentions a sea, we have to accept it. No harm in letting a poet describe his vision, no need to question his geography.

Related Characters: Rama, Sita, Kamban / The Poet
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:
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As time passed Janaka became anxious whether he would ever see his daughter married and settled—since the condition once made could not be withdrawn. No one on earth seemed worthy of approaching Shiva's bow. Janaka sighed. "I tremble when I think of Sita's future, and question my own judgment in linking her fate with this mighty, divine heirloom in our house."

Related Characters: King Janaka (speaker), Rama, Sita, Shiva, Viswamithra
Related Symbols: Bows and Arrows
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:
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5. The Grand Tormentor Quotes

"You are the overlord of seven worlds, mightier than the mightiest. Why do you feel sad and unhappy? Go and get her; that is all. Take her. She is yours. Is there anything beyond your reach? Stir yourself. Leave this desolate mood. Go forth, snatch her, because she is yours, created for you and waiting for you."

Related Characters: Soorpanaka (speaker), Sita, Ravana
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:
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9. Ravana in Council Quotes

"You have done incompatible things. You have desired to appropriate another man's wife, which is against all codes of conduct, and now you are thinking of your prestige, reputation, fame, might, and eminence."

Related Characters: Kumbakarna (speaker), Rama, Sita, Ravana
Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:
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Sita Character Timeline in The Ramayana

The timeline below shows where the character Sita appears in The Ramayana. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
2. The Wedding
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...residents to pick it up. As Viswamithra, Lakshmana, and Rama cross the moat, Rama notices Sita on a balcony and is stunned by her beauty. She meets his eyes. The narrator... (full context)
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Sita's attendants help Sita into bed, but she's inconsolable. She prattles on about the mysterious man's... (full context)
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...the assembly hall, Viswamithra introduces Rama and Lakshmana, and Janaka laments that Rama can't marry Sita. The narrator explains that Janaka owns a huge bow that once belonged to Shiva. When... (full context)
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...see the entire bow given its size. They laugh at Janaka setting this requirement for Sita's husband. (full context)
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Sita is unaware that Rama broke the bow; she continues to move from bed to bed... (full context)
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...Kamban describes the wedding festivities, taking nearly 1,000 lines to do so. After Rama and Sita are married, Rama's brothers marry women from Mithila as well. The people from Ayodhya begin... (full context)
3. Two Promises Revived
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...orders tree bark clothes for himself and insists on following Rama. Rama goes to tell Sita goodbye, but finds her dressed in bark as well. She insists on joining her husband,... (full context)
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When Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana emerge from the palace in their tree bark clothes, the crowd cries and... (full context)
4. Encounters in Exile
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Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita travel far away from Ayodhya to keep people from trying to persuade Rama to return... (full context)
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As they travel, Rama is enchanted by Sita's loveliness, particularly when she wears the jewelry from the sage's wife. They reach Panchvati and... (full context)
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Sita comes out of the cottage, stunning Soorpanaka with her beauty. Soorpanaka asks who Sita is,... (full context)
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...Soorpanaka tries to convince Rama again to marry her, but he turns and walks with Sita back into the house. Soorpanaka nearly faints and heads back to her lair. She cannot... (full context)
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...morning, Soorpanaka returns to Rama's house and watches him go to the river. She sees Sita leave the house to pick flowers and begins to stalk her. Lakshmana, however, notices her... (full context)
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...attack Rama. When Rama sees Soorpanaka and the commanders coming, he instructs Lakshmana to protect Sita, and singlehandedly uses his bow to decimate the army. Soorpanaka returns to Kara, who gathers... (full context)
5. The Grand Tormentor
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...asks how Rama provoked Soorpanaka, and Soorpanaka says that Ravana should take Rama's beautiful wife, Sita, for himself. (full context)
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Interested, Ravana asks Soorpanaka to describe Sita. He falls instantly in love with her image, and Soorpanaka urges him to capture Sita.... (full context)
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Ravana summons Soorpanaka and asks her to confirm that he's hallucinating about Sita. Soorpanaka insists that she sees Rama, and that since he damaged her she can't forget... (full context)
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...Ravana instead instructs his uncle to take the shape of a golden deer and draw Sita out of the house. Mareecha reflects that this is certainly going to kill him. (full context)
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...Rama's cottage, Mareecha assumes the shape of the golden deer and walks past the cottage. Sita notices it and asks Rama to catch it for her. Rama agrees, but Lakshmana insists... (full context)
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Rama worries that Sita heard Mareecha's false cry, but reasons that Lakshmana will assure her that it was a... (full context)
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...Lakshmana is out of sight, Ravana assumes the guise of a hermit and calls to Sita from the garden gate. When Sita appears, Ravana is overwhelmed by her beauty. Sita asks... (full context)
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Ravana abandons his human form and towers over Sita. He says he'd eat her if he weren't in love with her, and asks her... (full context)
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Sita faints and when she comes to, tries to jump off the chariot. She yells at... (full context)
6. Vali
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Rama and Lakshmana enter Kiskinda while searching desperately for Sita. Hanuman, the helper of Kiskinda's king, Sugreeva, watches them enter. He assumes the form of... (full context)
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...returning the spot to its sacred state. Sugreeva tells Rama that he saw Ravana carry Sita away a while ago, and gives Rama some of Sita's jewelry. Rama cries and faints.... (full context)
7. When the Rains Cease
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...for months. Rama grows depressed and guilty, thinking of himself sitting in relative shelter while Sita surely undergoes torture. Everything reminds him of Sita and makes him upset. Lakshmana comforts Rama... (full context)
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...and as Rama's companion, Lakshmana will too. He asks Sugreeva to begin a search for Sita immediately. Sugreeva begs forgiveness and instructs Hanuman to bring the armies to Rama's home when... (full context)
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...explaining the terrain they'll encounter. Rama takes Hanuman aside and gives him an explanation of Sita's beauty so he'll recognize her when he finds her. Finally, Rama takes his ring off... (full context)
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Sampathi tells the monkeys that he saw Ravana take Sita over the ocean to Lanka. Sampathi leaves and the monkeys discuss how to cross the... (full context)
8. Memento From Rama
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...shrinks to a small size and begins looking into the windows of every building for Sita. Several streets in the city are lined with buildings that house Ravana's "collection of women,"... (full context)
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Hanuman peeks into Ravana's palace and doesn't see Sita there, so he continues his search. He finds himself in one of Ravana's parks, where... (full context)
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Angry that Sita won't give in, Ravana leaves the garden after instructing the rakshasa women to break Sita's... (full context)
9. Ravana in Council
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...to understand that Rama is an incarnation of a god and asks him to release Sita. (full context)
11. The Siege of Lanka
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...to infiltrate Rama's ranks with spies, but this proves ineffective. Finally, he tries to convince Sita that Rama is dead by showing her a decapitated head that looks like Rama's, but... (full context)
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...arrows that make them faint. This pleases Ravana, as he thinks they're dead. He sends Sita into the sky in a chariot to observe her "dead" husband, and Sita cries and... (full context)
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...to see Ravana look so anxious. Kumbakarna says that Ravana should've never gone about stealing Sita in this way, driven by lust. He promises to bring Rama's head on a platter. (full context)
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...cries that his "right hand is cut off." Indrajit, meanwhile, creates a fake figure of Sita, carries the figure onto the battlefield, and kills her in front of Rama's army. The... (full context)
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Later, Lakshmana kills Indrajit. Ravana cries and decides to kill Sita. Some of Ravana's advisors think this is a good idea, but others instruct Ravana to... (full context)
12. Rama and Ravana in Battle
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...heroic. Ravana summons his chariot and vows that at the end of the day, either Sita or Ravana's own wife will be a widow. (full context)
13. Interlude
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Rama sends Hanuman to fetch an overjoyed Sita. Hanuman instructs Sita to dress herself beautifully before meeting Rama, and she does so. Sita... (full context)
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Sita breaks down crying and orders Lakshmana to light a fire. Lakshmana hesitates, but finally does... (full context)
14. The Coronation
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Rama explains that he had to test Sita's purity, which the narrator points out is very inconsistent with Rama's character and past actions.... (full context)
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...all the reasons why Dasaratha should forgive Kaikeyi, and finally Dasaratha agrees. He blesses Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana, and then returns to the heavens. (full context)
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...to pass ruling responsibilities on to Sathrugna, and prepares to step into a fire like Sita did. Sathrugna tries to dissuade his brother, but Hanuman arrives just in time to tell... (full context)
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...arrives, he greets his mother and stepmothers. He quickly dresses himself like a king, and Sita dresses like a queen. An attendant sets the time for their coronation. (full context)
Epilogue
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...think about what she did and accepted Rama with open arms. When Rama was crowned, Sita sat next to him, Rama held his bow in his right hand, and Lakshmana stood... (full context)
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...narrator admits that he's leaving out the "sequel," which tells the story of Rama and Sita's second parting. Sita gives birth to twin boys in the forest, and the couple decides... (full context)