The Hunt for Red October Characters

Tom Clancy


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The Hunt for Red October has many characters, most of whom are well sketched stereotypes, such as self-assured National Guard pilots eager to prove themselves the equals of regular servicemen, and political officers declaiming Communist Party platitudes. However, a few characters are fleshed out with personalities all their own. The most interesting of these is Marko Ramius, the brilliant and intense commander of Red October. Without him there would be no story; therefore, it is important that he and his motivations be thoroughly developed.

Ramius is a product of Soviet society, even though he detests it. His life has made him ruthless in furthering his own ends. For example, he kills Red October's political officer with his bare hands and gives little indication that the cold-blooded murder troubles his conscience. In order to survive in his society, Ramius has learned to hide his emotions, and he seems to eventually deny those emotions, such as compassion, that would be taken as signs of weakness and lack of Marxist-Leninist resolve. His efforts to hide his true feelings from his father and other Party functionaries seem to have made him cautious. Therefore, when he resolves to defect with Red October, his lifetime of experience in surviving in a cutthroat society makes him both capable of elaborate yet secretive planning, and ruthless enough to do whatever is necessary for success. On the other hand, he is not a psychopath;...

(The entire section is 536 words.)