The Human Factor Characters
by Graham Greene

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The Human Factor Characters

The primary character in The Human Factor is Maurice Castle, an aging agent with the British intelligence service who is leaking information about South Africa to the Communists. Castle is leaking information out of gratitude to his friend, Carson, a Marxist who rescued Castle's eventual wife from prison. His choice to leak this information leads to a chain of events, beginning with the killing of his coworker, who is wrongly believed to be the double agent.

The supporting characters you may include in an analysis of The Human Factor are Sarah Castle, Arthur Davis, Dr. Emmanuel Percival, Cornelius Muller, Colonel Daintry, and Sir John Hargreaves. Sarah Castle is Maurice Castle's wife. She met Maurice Castle when he was a field agent in South Africa, and when Arthur Davis dies, she immediately suspects that the British were behind it. Arthur Davis was Maurice Castle's coworker and was wrongly suspected of being the agent who was leaking governmental secrets to the Communists. He is therefore killed on the recommendation of Dr. Emmanuel Percival, a member of British intelligence who is summoned by Sir John Hargreaves to deal with the security leak. He feels no remorse when he is given the news that the wrong man was killed.

Cornelius Muller is another important character. A representative of apartheid, Muller opposed Castle seven years before the book's events when Castle broke South Africa's race laws. Muller eventually suspects Castle of being the double agent and informs Hargreaves. Colonel Daintry works below Hargreaves, and his humanity leads to difficult situations, especially when Davis is wrongfully killed. When Daintry visits Castle to discuss Davis' death and Castle admits that Davis was not the double agent, Daintry reports this to his superiors with the intention of resigning afterward. A discussion of the book's characters may also include Sir John Hargreaves, Daintry's superior. Hargreaves is the one who instructs the security officers that they must eliminate the double agent. Because he places so much trust in intuition, when Muller suspects Castle, Hargreaves reluctantly sends Daintry to question him.

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Maurice Castle

Maurice Castle, a sixty-two-year-old agent in British intelligence who is leaking governmental information about South Africa to the Communists. Castle’s reason is his gratitude to Carson, a friend who gave Marxism a human face for him by arranging for the escape from prison of Sarah, the black South African Castle later married. Although he is scrupulously careful, Castle suspects that his leaks have been noticed. Nevertheless, Castle conveys to his Russian contact, Boris, information about Uncle Remus, a secret operation of the United States and Britain to protect their shared financial concerns in support of apartheid in South Africa. After Castle’s coworker Arthur Davis dies, Castle realizes that the leak had been traced to his office but the wrong man was killed. He dangerously decides to send one more report when he sees in the notes of the South African representative, Cornelius Muller, the words “final solution,” a chilling reminder of Nazi horrors. Almost at the same time, Castle uses an emergency telephone signal to arrange his escape from England. With British intelligence now suspecting him, Castle travels in disguise to Moscow on the expectation that the KGB will arrange for Sarah and her young son Sam to follow. The British delay their passage, however. Finally, Castle makes telephone contact with Sarah in England, but shortly into their conversation the line goes dead.

Sarah Castle

Sarah Castle, Maurice’s wife. Sarah worked with Castle when he was a field agent in South Africa. She immediately suspects that the death of Davis was the work of the British. When Castle later tells her that he is what most would consider a traitor, Sarah responds, “Who cares?” She reminds Castle that she and he have their own country and that he has never betrayed that. Talking to Castle in Moscow by...

(The entire section is 1,169 words.)