Yuri Andreievich Zhivago
Yuri Andreievich Zhivago (YEW-ree ahn-DREH-yeh-vihch zhih-VAH-goh), the protagonist. When Zhivago’s mother dies at the beginning of the novel, he becomes practically an orphan because his father, a wealthy man ruined by alcohol, already has abandoned his family. Yuri Zhivago is then reared by a maternal uncle, Nikolai Vedeniapin, a liberal journalist and intellectual who is the first character to express something like Christian idealism. Later, in his school years, Yuri lives in the home of Alexander Gromeko, a chemistry professor with a wealthy, good-hearted, physically frail wife and daughter. These associations are important in the formation of Yuri Zhivago’s character and interests. The influence of his uncle impels him toward poetry, and the influence of Gromeko toward medicine. Zhivago is dark and not particularly handsome. He possesses intelligence that shows in his features. He is passive and idealistic, sustained through the chaos of Russia in the 1920’s by the women, stronger than himself, who love him. He is more convincing as a poet and idealist than as a doctor.
Antonina (Tonia) Alexandrovna Gromeko
Antonina (Tonia) Alexandrovna Gromeko (ahn-TOH-nih-nah ah-lehk-SAHN-drov-nah groh-MEH-koh), the daughter of Alexander and Anno Gromeko. Yuri Zhivago meets her when he is a schoolboy living in the Gromeko home. Relations change as Yuri and Tonia mature, and Tonia becomes Zhivago’s wife. Tonia has all the good qualities one might expect in the daughter of civilized, educated...
(The entire section is 711 words.)