There have been many females in the epics that we have read about so far. The one that sticks out to me the most apart from Sita is Kaikeyi from Ramayana. I consider Kaikeyi powerful because she becomes a warrior at a young age, she is intelligent, and she is not afraid to go after what she wants.
Kaikeyi is the youngest and favorite Queen of Dasharatha’s three wives. Kaikeyi and Dasharatha meet in one of the wars. He is instantly attracted to her because she is beautiful, intelligent, and has fighting skills. Dasharatha feels as though he has a real connection with Kaikeyi because she fights with him, and she discusses matters of the Kingdom with him. During one of these wars, Kaikeyi saves Dasharatha when his chariot wheel breaks during the war. Dasharatha is so moved by her bravery that he gives her two boons. Kaikeyi could ask for the boons when she wanted, so she decides she will use them later.
Kaikeyi not having a motherly influence growing up leads her to worry. She begins to worry that Dasharatha loves his other wives more than he loves her. In her culture, where polygamy was common, she is not used to this (Bagchi). As Kaikeyi prepares for Rama’s coronation ceremony her maid, Manthara, puts evil thoughts in her head. Manthara advises Kaikeyi that she will lose her Lead Queen status after Rama’s crowning. With these thoughts on her mind, Kaikeyi’s doubt grows and grows. She finally makes up her mind to use the two boons Dasharatha promised her years ago. She uses one boon to crown her son, Bharatha, king and the other to exile Rama. Rhonda Kelley wrote, “Kaikeyi demands Rama be exiled into the wilderness for fourteen years and that the succession pass to her son Bharata”. She knew if she did this that society would look negatively on her and think of her as an evil, wicked woman. She is willing to accept this to get what she wants.
Kaikeyi’s power comes from her place in society. Being one of the Queens gives her more power than other females in their society. Her intellect and bravery give her power because she knows how to strategize and fight to win wars in the kingdom in which she lives. She also gains power through the two boons promised by her husband. The two boons destroy her and her family because she lets jealousy and greed take over.