The Ramayana

Sugreeva Character Analysis

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. Sugreeva asks Rama for help in killing Vali, but feels extremely guilty when their plan works and Vali dies. As the king of Kiskinda, Sugreeva gives himself over to material pleasures and spends his time drinking alcohol and enjoying the company of beautiful women, causing him to ignore the promise he made to Rama to provide an army to search for Sita. When Sugreeva is made to see the error of his ways, though, he vows to give up alcohol and becomes one of Rama's greatest and most loyal allies in the fight against Ravana.

Sugreeva Quotes in The Ramayana

The The Ramayana quotes below are all either spoken by Sugreeva or refer to Sugreeva. 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.
6. Vali Quotes

The perfect man takes a false step, apparently commits a moral slip, and we ordinary mortals stand puzzled before the incident. It may be less an actual error of commission on his part than a lack of understanding on ours; measured in Eternity, such an event might stand out differently.

Related Characters: Rama, Lakshmana, Sugreeva, Vali
Related Symbols: Bows and Arrows
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:
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"We should not become too analytical about a friend, nor look too deeply into original causes; but accept only what appears good to us in the first instance, and act on it."

Related Characters: Rama (speaker), Lakshmana, Sugreeva, Vali, Bharatha
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:
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7. When the Rains Cease Quotes

"Even in jest, do not hurt anyone's feelings, not even the lowliest," he said—remembering how he used to make fun of Kooni's deformity when he was young...

Related Characters: Rama (speaker), Sugreeva, Kooni
Page Number: Book Page 106
Explanation and Analysis:
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Sugreeva Character Timeline in The Ramayana

The timeline below shows where the character Sugreeva appears in The Ramayana. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
6. Vali
Heroism Theme Icon
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Storytelling, Teaching, and Morality Theme Icon
...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 a scholar and observes that Lakshmana and... (full context)
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...only assumed this form to greet Rama. He retakes his monkey form and returns with Sugreeva. Sugreeva mentions offhandedly that like Rama, he suffers in exile. Hanuman tells Sugreeva's story. (full context)
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Hanuman says that Sugreeva's brother, Vali, long ago won immeasurable strength. He also has the power that states that... (full context)
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...he found the tunnel blocked. He broke out of the tunnel, reached Kiskinda, and when Sugreeva tried to welcome his brother, Vali accused Sugreeva of trying to bury him alive. As... (full context)
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This story moves Rama, and he offers Sugreeva his help. Hanuman and Sugreeva speak privately, and Hanuman says that he believes that Rama... (full context)
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Rama then notices a pile of bones and asks Sugreeva about them. Sugreeva tells Dundubi's story. Dundubi was a monstrous buffalo-shaped demon. Dundubi had sought... (full context)
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...of the bones. Lakshmana kicks the bones away, returning the spot to its sacred state. Sugreeva tells Rama that he saw Ravana carry Sita away a while ago, and gives Rama... (full context)
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Hanuman says that they must first do away with Vali so that Sugreeva can be crowned king. The group travels to a mountain in Kiskinda, where Sugreeva shouts... (full context)
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...Lakshmana debate whether involving themselves in this fight is proper. Lakshmana questions whether or not Sugreeva is trustworthy, but Rama insists that they shouldn't be overly analytical. The monkeys fight brutally... (full context)
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Vali pauses, slowly lets go of Sugreeva, and wraps his hands, feet, and tail around the arrow. The god of death steps... (full context)
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...he pursued the demon into the tunnel. He explains to Vali that he didn't offer Sugreeva any mercy and instead, tried to kill him. Rama continues, saying that taking Sugreeva's wife... (full context)
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...Rama had spoken to Vali, he might have been forced to break his promise to Sugreeva. Again, Vali sees the logic in this and says that "simple-minded ones like me" constantly... (full context)
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Finally, Vali asks Rama to explain to others that Sugreeva brought about Vali's salvation, not just his death. He then offers Hanuman to serve Rama,... (full context)
7. When the Rains Cease
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After Sugreeva's coronation, he approaches Rama and asks him what he should do next. Rama instructs Sugreeva... (full context)
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Hanuman insists on staying with Rama, but Rama tells Hanuman to remain with Sugreeva and counsel him. The monkeys leave and Lakshmana constructs another dwelling for himself and Rama.... (full context)
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When the rains end, Rama feels better. However, Sugreeva doesn't arrive with an army as the days pass. Rama wonders if Sugreeva forgot them... (full context)
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Sugreeva is in his bedroom, which is so lavish and filled with beautiful women and good... (full context)
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...here. Lakshmana feels homesick looking at Tara, and says that he wants to know why Sugreeva hasn't arrived. Tara explains that Sugreeva is gathering his armies. Lakshmana feels relieved. (full context)
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Angada tells Sugreeva that Lakshmana is at the palace, and tells him about Lakshmana's anger when he arrived.... (full context)
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Sugreeva greets Lakshmana and they enter the palace hall. Lakshmana insists on sitting on the floor... (full context)
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Sugreeva leaves to meet with Rama, and Rama greets him with open arms. Sugreeva is self-critical,... (full context)
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...high spot to try to count them, but decides that counting will take too long. Sugreeva calls the commanders to each search in a different direction. Sugreeva gives Hanuman and Angada... (full context)
10. Across the Ocean
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...Rama for asylum, and a messenger interrogates Vibishana. With the messenger's information, Rama meets with Sugreeva, Hanuman, and other advisors to decide what to do with Vibishana. Sugreeva insists that they... (full context)
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...even if Vibishana betrays them, Rama will feel as though he's done the right thing. Sugreeva brings Vibishana to meet Rama, and Rama instructs Lakshmana to treat Vibishana as the king... (full context)
Epilogue
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...entered Ayodhya and picked up right where he left off 14 years earlier. Hanuman and Sugreeva took on human forms and were treated as honored guests. Even Kaikeyi had taken the... (full context)