Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Karl Heinrich Marx

Karl Heinrich Marx, a German economist, philosopher, and socialist. At home with his large family, his partner Engels, and Leadbelly, Marx is torn in anguish between his love for his family and a passion to fulfill their needs, on one hand, and his calling to invent socialism, on the other. He is a sufferer, physically with boils and spiritually with a loss of faith and purpose, a Job in the age of science who denies his family’s religion and curses Yahweh (Jehovah). Marx denies that he is a Jew and calls himself a German and a European. Engels calls him “the preacher,” “a secular rabbi,” “a brilliant pragmatist,” and “a Jew who outgrew Judaism.” Leadbelly calls him “a universal man” and, in crude, explicit language, a carnal lover of his wife Jenny. Marx’s children call him “pappa.” After fairly regular but assorted torment in the first two acts, Marx lets himself be prodded into his destiny.

Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter

Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter, also called Blackman and Herr Afrika, an American who comes from the future to ignite Marx into going to the British Museum to sit on his boils and write Das Kapital, which will change the destiny of the world. Leadbelly claims that he is of “the god-people of Africa,” the root base of “communalism,” the real revolutionary force. Leadbelly transforms into Nelson D. Rockefeller, who substantiates what...

(The entire section is 535 words.)