Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Akakii Akakiievich Bashmachkin

Akakii Akakiievich Bashmachkin (ah-KAH-kihy ah-KAH-kihy-eh-vihch bahsh-MAH-hihn), a humble, poorly paid, aging government clerk, short, pockmarked, with reddish balding hair, dim and bleary eyes, and wrinkled cheeks. Possessing a high-sounding government grade of perpetual titular councilor, he is a mere copyist of documents. He loves his work, which he does with neat and painstaking thoroughness, and he even takes some of it home to do at night. Badly needing an overcoat to replace an old one that the tailor refuses to repair, he plans to have a new one made, and for several months he lives in happy anticipation of getting it. When he wears it to the office, he is pleased over the attention it gains him from his fellow clerks; but he is desolated when it is stolen after a party given in his honor. Stammering and frightened by the domineering manner of a Certain Important Personage to whom he applies for help in finding his coat, he stumbles into a snowstorm, becomes ill, and dies in delirium. His ghost, after snatching overcoats from various people, finds the person of consequence wearing a fine overcoat and seizes it. Apparently the garment is a perfect fit, for Akakii never reappears to seize more coats.


Petrovich (peht-ROH-vihch), a one-eyed, pockmarked tailor given to heavy drinking, quoting high prices to his clients, and slyly watching to see what effects he has achieved.

A Certain Important Personage

A Certain Important Personage, a bureaucrat recently promoted to a position of consequence. With his equals he is pleasant, gentlemanly, and obliging, but with those below him he is reticent, rude, and very conscious of his superiority. Strict and a stickler for form, he tyrannizes his subordinates. The ghost of Bashmachkin steals his overcoat.


(Short Stories for Students)

Akaky Akakyevich
See Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin.

Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin
Akaky Akakievich...

(The entire section is 714 words.)