Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Sir Andrew Undershaft
Sir Andrew Undershaft, a munitions tycoon. Believing that poverty is the root of all discontent and, consequently, a threat to capitalism, he uses his power and wealth in an attempt to eliminate it. In a war of ideas with his daughter Barbara, he proves that a donation from a dealer in death—namely, himself—will buy the good graces of the Salvation Army. He then proceeds to fill the void created by her disillusionment by converting her to his own creed.
Barbara, Sir Andrew’s daughter. As a major in the Salvation Army, she exercises her moral fervor in the cause of winning the souls of the poor to the kingdom of God. When her father proves to her that a donation from his deplored and destructive profession can win the favor of the Army, she becomes converted to his creed that it is useless to attempt the salvation of souls until the souls’ destroyer, poverty, has been eliminated.
Adolphus Cusins, a professor of Greek, Barbara’s suitor. His intellect, added to Sir Andrew’s power and Barbara’s moral fervor, completes the trinity that Sir Andrew believes will be the salvation of society.
Lady Britomart Undershaft
Lady Britomart Undershaft, Sir Andrew’s domineering wife, who abhors what she calls her husband’s immorality, though she does not hesitate to capitalize on it.
Stephen Undershaft, Sir Andrew’s painfully conventional son.
Sarah Undershaft, Sir Andrew’s younger daughter.
Charles Lomax, Sarah Undershaft’s vacuous suitor.
Peter Shirley, and
Bill Walker, frequenters of the Salvation Army headquarters.