Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 313
Boris Godunov tells the story of a privy councilor named Boris Godunov who plans the assassination of Tsarevitch Dimitry. Boris plans the assassination in such a way that he escapes suspicion and even becomes czar himself. A young, ambitious monk named Grigory realizes he is the same age as the murdered czar and decides to impersonate Dimitry and overthrow Godunov. Godunov attempts to capture Grigory, who begins to build armies in Lithuania and Poland. Grigory eventually marches on Godunov's son, the new czar, and defeats him. Some of the main characters in Boris Godunov are:
Boris Godunov: The counselor who plots the murder of the czar. Due to his careful plotting, he mostly avoids suspicion for the murder, although a few people know the truth, such as Grigory. Boris later becomes the czar and proves to be a cruel and ruthless ruler. He becomes ill quite suddenly and names his son as Czar before he dies.
Grigory Otrepyev: a young monk who pretends he is the murdered czar Dimitry. He builds an army in Poland and eventually leads them to attack Boris Godunov. Grigory eventually emerges victorious.
Basmanov: A military general who wishes to avoid the intricacies of politics. He originally supports Boris Godunov's son as czar but later defects to Grigory's side, leading to Grigory's victory.
Maryna: a Polish woman that Grigory falls in love with. She is initially angered when she discovers that Grigory is not the murdered czar Dimitry, as he claims. She agrees to marry Grigory if his armies are victorious.
Feodor: Boris Godunov's son, who becomes czar for a short time. He commits suicide by taking poison, according to Grigory's men.
Pushkin: One of Grigory's men who is instrumental in persuading Basmanov to defect to their side. He also rallies the people against Godunov.
Father Pimen: An older monk and former soldier. He is a mentor to Grigory.