K., a young man seeking entrance to the Castle. He is both puzzled and irritated by his inability to get to the Castle, where he had thought himself needed as a Land Surveyor. He never reaches the Castle. Kafka intended, in a chapter planned but never written, to relate that K. was to be given permission to live and work in the village though not to enter the Castle itself. K.’s efforts to reach the Castle resemble Christian’s struggle in The Pilgrim’s Progress to reach the Celestial City; however, Christian succeeds, whereas K. does not.
Frieda, a fair-haired, sad-eyed, hollow-cheeked young barmaid who is Klamm’s mistress. She becomes K.’s fiancée and stays with him at the Bridge Inn and, later, at the schoolhouse. Jealous of his apparent interest in Olga and Amalia, she rejects K. for Jeremiah.
Barnabas, a white-clad young messenger who brings K. a letter from Klamm and introduces him to Barnabas’ family. He is a servant at the Castle.
Olga, his yellow-haired sister, a strapping girl with a hard-looking face. She shows kindness to K. and tells him much about the organization of the Castle and about the village people.
Amalia, another sister who closely resembles both Olga and Barnabas.
Arthur, K.’s assistant, a slim, brown-skinned, jolly young man with a little pointed black beard. He and Jeremiah keep an almost constant watch on K.
Jeremiah, another assistant who looks so like Arthur that K., who says they are as alike as two snakes, calls him Arthur also.
Klamm, a chief at the Castle who is often seen at the Herrenhof. He is plump, ponderous, and flabby-cheeked, and he wears a pointed black mustache and a pince-nez.
Schwarzer, a young man who telephones the Castle to check on K. He is in love with Gisa.
The Superintendent, a kindly, stout, clean-shaven man suffering from gout. He tries to explain to K. the intricacies of the management of the Castle.
Gardana, the landlady at the Bridge Inn. She was once, briefly, Klamm’s mistress.
Momus, the village secretary, a deputy of Klamm.
Gisa, the lady schoolteacher.
Sortini, a great official at the Castle who once wrote an obscene letter to Amalia.