Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) Pi is both the protagonist and the narrator in the novel. His name (Piscine) comes from the French word for "pool." He was named for a pool in Paris where Francis Adirumbasamy - a close family friend - loved to swim. He renamed himself, "Pi," to escape jokes about his name. He is a zoology as well as religion student. Internally, he loves to study religion. Externally, he looses his family in a shipwreck and is stranded in a lifeboat with only a few animals as companions.
Richard Parker A bengal tiger who shares Pi's lifeboat. He kills the hyena on the lifeboat and the blind canibal. He is an omega (submissive animal) and respects Pi as the dominant (alpha) animal.
The Author He is the narrator of the Author's note, which is fictitious. Some the facts about him (living in Canada, published two books, was inspired to write Pi's story on a trip to India) indicate that he may be Yann Martel himself.
Francis Adirubasamy He is an elderly man who tells Pi's story. He taught Pi to swim as a young child. Pi calls him Mamaji, an Indian word meaning "respected uncle."
Ravi He is Pi's older brother. He is an athlete, and would choose sports over homework. He is a popular boy. He often teases Pi about his devotion to three religions. He is killed during the sinking of the ship - the Tsimtsum.
Mr. Santosh Patel He is Pi's father. His deep devotion to animals forced a change in careers - from a hotel owner to running the Pondicherry Zoo. It's his nature to worry, and because of this he teaches his son to fear wild animals. He is not a religious man, and is confused by his son's devotion to multiple doctrines. He moves his family from India to Canda, in search of a better life.
Mrs. Gita Patel She is Pi's mother and protector. She is another character who does not subscribe to any religion, and is also puzzled by her son's devotion to and love of religion. She openly speaks her mind, especially in matters of Santosh's parenting techniques.
Satish Kumar Muslim mystic. His faith leads Pi to study religion at college.
Father Martin Catholic Priest who introduces Pi to Christianity. He preaches a mesage of love.
The Hindu Pandit Never given a name, he is very angry when Pi admits interest in other religions.
Meena Patel Pi's wife - meets The Author briefly in Toronto.
Nikhil Patel (Nick) Pi's son. Loves baseball.
Usha Patel Pi's daughter. Shy, but very close with her father.
The Hyena Ugly, very violent and angry animal. He is in control before Richard Parker emerges.
The Zebra A beautiful creature. His leg is broken when he jumps into the lifeboat. The hyena relentlessly torments him and, finally, eats him alive.
Orange Juice Maternal orangutan on the lifeboat with Pi. She is almost human in her manerisms - suffering lonliness and seasickness. She is attacked by the hyena. Although she fights valiently, she is killed.
The Blind Frenchman A fellow castaway. He tries to hunt and cannibalize Pi, but Richard Parker kills him.
The Cook Human counterpart to the hyena in Pi's second story. Rude, violent, and hoards food on the lifeboat. He kills Pi's mother. After, Pi stabs him.
The Sailor Human counterpart to the zebra in Pi's second story. He dies of an infection from a broken leg - from his leap into the lifeboat.
Tomohiro Okamoto & Atsuro Chiba Investigators in the accident. Interview Pi. Skeptical of his first account.