Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 310
Brand, an uncompromising young priest who vows to bring about the cure of the world’s triple sickness, as exemplified in the fainthearted, the lighthearted, and the uncontrolled. Demanding of his followers all or nothing, he is faced with the same choice for himself when he is confronted with the possible death of his son and, later, of his wife, Agnes. He makes the sacrifices he feels are required of him and calls on the people to go up the mountain with him to a new life, where every day is dedicated to God. When the way becomes too hard for his followers, they drop by the wayside, and he goes on alone except for Gerd, who sees that his hands are pierced and his brow marked with thorns.
Agnes, Brand’s wife, who challenges her husband to make the choice he demands of others: all or nothing—his duty or her life. She rejoices when he chooses his holy work, and soon afterward she dies.
A peasant, a symbol of the fainthearted. He will not give his own life for his daughter’s.
Einar, a painter, a symbol of the lighthearted. Engaged to Agnes, he becomes a fanatical missionary after her marriage to Brand.
Gerd, a gypsy girl, a symbol of the uncontrolled. She follows the forsaken Brand up the mountain, where she sees him as Lord and Redeemer.
The mother, who refuses her son Brand’s request that she relinquish all her earthly possessions. She dies unrepentant.
The doctor, who reminds Brand that an attempt to save his son’s life will require him to belie his demand of all or nothing from his followers.
the sexton, and
the schoolmaster, other members of Brand’s flock.