Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Cowboy, a sensible, practical, calm, and honest heroin dealer. In the second act of the play, he arrives in Leach’s New York apartment, where the other characters have been waiting for him impatiently. He gives them heroin injections in Leach’s bathroom while the unsuspecting Sister Salvation looks around the apartment. Cowboy is weary of the dangers of dealing heroin. When Leach takes an overdose, Cowboy saves his life, but he refuses to be considered the play’s hero.


Leach, a clearly discontented heroin addict and the occupant of the apartment in which the play takes place. Trying to dominate the other characters, he gets into an argument with Ernie, who refuses to abide by Leach’s rules and who accidentally breaks the boil on Leach’s neck. He pays for heroin to be given to the play’s author and to the two photographers hired to film the play within the play, so that these three people can lose their conventionality. Feeling cheated by Cowboy when he does not get high on the heroin, he overdoses on stage but probably will survive.


Solly, an educated, conciliatory heroin addict. He is the mouthpiece for the play’s philosophy and comments on the antisocial attitude of the twentieth century, on the fascination with warfare in the twentieth century, and on waiting, the heroin addicts’ main occupation, which often leads to suicide. He and Leach involve the play’s author and its producer as well as the two photographers in the action. Solly is a good storyteller and argues that addiction to heroin is no worse than more...

(The entire section is 669 words.)