Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


George, the site supervisor. A pompous, rather unlikable man, he has the most contact with the diggers. He refuses to be entertained by their antics or concerned with their troubles. Most of the time, he literally looks down on them from a temporary office built above the excavation site. He is in constant conflict with Keeney.

Mr. Wilson

Mr. Wilson, the guard. Professing a great understanding of criminal behavior, he is a no-nonsense, ostentatiously tough man in his sixties. Despite his loudly voiced concern over issues of crime and punishment, he is not a strong presence in the play. When he does appear, he is preoccupied with his young daughter’s musical examination.


Des, an archaeology student nicknamed Dessy the Red by the diggers. He is a serious young leftist, twenty years old. He likes to think of himself as more closely allied to the prisoners on the dig than to the professionals who supervise it. His small gestures of camaraderie—buying cigarettes and newspapers for the men—prove to be the extent of his aid to them, as he consistently fails to live up to his political and professional ideals.


Knox, a prisoner on the dig. A dirty, shambling man of sixty-five years, but looking older, he is noteworthy among the men for his smell and his ill temper. He is frequently the butt of Keeney and Pyne’s jokes. Reared in a fabulously wealthy and...

(The entire section is 603 words.)