The characters in this play are few in number and represent different lives that are linked together in different ways. The major character is Nina Leeds, whose live is ruined after her sweetheart, Gordon Shaw, went to war and died there. Since this point, she has one affair after another with soldiers who go to war because she wants to give them what she was unable to give Gordon. Note what her father says about her to Marsden in Act One:
Sees everyone--bores, fools--as if she'd lost all discrimination or wish to discriminate.
She is clearly still grief stricken over the death of her sweetheart, so much so that Nina's father says she is haunted by Gordon's memory and she is "dragging a corpse" around with her. It is her father, Professor Henry Leeds, who opposed the marriage to Gordon, and it is suggested that he opposed it because he had a rather unhealthy protective instinct towards Nina himself.
The other characters mainly involve men who are interested in Nina themselves. Edmund Darrell is attracted to Nina, but won't endanger his career as an up and coming physicist by attaching himself to a troubled woman. Charles Marsden is a family friend of Nina's father who likes Nina but who is so attached to his mother that he won't start a relationship with her. Lastly Sam Evans is a man who loves Nina and who is chosen by Edmund Darrell and Charles Marsden to marry Nina and give her a child, that they hope will sort her out.