Notes From Underground Characters

Characters

Apollon
Apollon is the narrator’s house servant. He does not appear until the last chapters of part 2, but readers quickly learn that Apollon and the narrator do not get along. The narrator believes that Apollon puts on airs and acts as if everyone is beneath him. Apollon is also very fastidious about his appearance, which puts him at odds with the narrator. He is also very confident in himself, which the narrator is not. In other words, although Apollon is the house servant and the narrator is his boss, their roles appear to be reversed. Apollon gets the best of the narrator not so much by what he says but by what he does not say. He refuses to play verbal games with the narrator, for example. If Apollon wants something, he merely appears in the narrator’s room and stands in silence, staring at him. When the narrator withholds Apollon’s wages and tells him that he must apologize for being so rude to him, Apollon refuses. There is, however, one connection between Apollon and the narrator. Neither character appears to be a man of action. Although they seem to detest one another, neither makes a move to rid himself of the other. The narrator, although he says he despises Apollon, does not fire him. And Apollon seems to take the narrator’s abuse because he has grown accustomed to it.

Ferfichkin
Ferfichkin is a “Russianfied German,” who joins the men to celebrate Zverkov’s leaving in the middle chapters of part 2. His role in this story is minor, possibly representing the European man that the narrator chides throughout the first part of the novel. Ferfichkin yells at the narrator at Zverkov’s dinner, saying that someone should punch the narrator in the face. The narrator takes this to mean that Ferfichkin has challenged him to a duel, something the narrator has been wishing someone would do throughout the story. Nothing comes of the challenge. Ferfichkin, like most other characters in Notes From Underground, does not believe that the narrator is worth the trouble.

Liza
Liza is the only female character in the story. It is through Liza that the softer or more pleasant side of the narrator is exposed. However, because she exposes that side, she also opens up some of the narrator’s most vile emotions as well.

If there is a hero (or heroine) in Notes From Underground, the narrator insinuates that it is Liza. She is the only one who does not dismiss the narrator because of his shabbiness and his lack of social graces. He rants and raves, throwing insults in her face, and although she is shaken, she does not run away. The narrator believes that Liza realizes he does this because he is so unhappy. He takes his frustrations out on her, which, according to the narrator’s vision of the loving couple, Liza does not take personally. She understands. She empathizes. However, she is also smart enough to move away. She knows that the narrator, although capable of speaking of sentimental emotions, is incapable of acting on them. The narrator’s words come from a book, not his heart.

His final insult, giving her money for their having sex, was the last straw. She is crushed. Readers do not know how this will affect her. She had decided that she wanted to leave the house of prostitution, but the story ends without the reader knowing what she finally resolves to do.

Officer
The officer is the first character to be introduced in the second part of the novel. He remains nameless and thus stands for a generalized view of the man of action. Readers are told little about him other than he is six-feet tall. The officer is the first example that the narrator offers of how...

(The entire section is 1523 words.)