Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Ilya Ilyitch Oblomov

Ilya Ilyitch Oblomov (ihl-YAH ilh-YIHCH ohb-LOH-mof), a Russian landowner brought up to do nothing for himself. He, like his parents, only eats and sleeps. He barely graduates from college and cannot force himself to do any kind of work, feeling that work is too much trouble for a gentleman. His indolence results finally in his living in filth and being cheated consistently. Even love cannot stir him. Though he realizes his trouble and dubs it “Oblomovism,” he can do nothing about it. Eventually his indolence kills him, as his doctors tell him it will.


Tarantyev (tah-RAHN-tehf), the parasitical friend of Oblomov. He uses Oblomov’s indolence to cheat him, providing for himself at Oblomov’s expense.

Andrey Stolz

Andrey Stolz (ahn-DRAY stohlz), Oblomov’s only true friend. His German father gave him a wealth of practical experience as a child, so that he was able to make himself wealthy and respected as a businessman. He tries to help Oblomov, straightening out his affairs several times, but his efforts do Oblomov no good.


Zahar (zah-KHAHR), Oblomov’s valet. He imitates his master in indolence.

Olga Ilyinsky

Olga Ilyinsky (ih-LYIHN-skihy), a vivacious, sensitive woman. She falls in love with Oblomov and he with her. She eventually discovers, however, that she is in love with the man Oblomov could be, not the man he is. Upon this discovery, she bids him a permanent good-bye. Later, she marries Stolz, who also loves her.