Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 389
Here are some of the most important characters in Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano:
Dr. George Proteus: We encounter him at the beginning of the book and learn that when he died, he held a position that was second only to that of the President of the U.S. In the book, we encounter his son, Dr. Paul Proteus, who almost rises as high as his father; he is the highest paid employee of Ilium works. We also learn of Paul's wife, Anita, who is barren. Kroner and Baer, both in their fifties, are colleagues of Paul at Ilium. Kroner's wife is called Janice.
Paul's secretary is Dr Katharine Finch; her lover is called Dr. Bud Calhoun, and he manages a gas station in Ilium.
Paul has two colleagues who joined Ilium works at the same time as him: Dr. Shephard and Edward Finnerty.
In the second chapter, we encounter the Shah of Bratpuhr, who leads the Kolhouri sect as well as Dr. Ewing J Haylard of the U.S. department of state. Khashdrahr Miasma is the Shah's interpreter and companion.
Rudy Hertz is a former machinist whom Paul encounters in a bar; Rudy was an excellent worker but lost his job after the war when the machines proved to be more efficient than humans.
Fred Berringer is a young engineer at Ilium who comes from a "good family" in Minneapolis.
James Lasher is an army chaplain whom Paul refers to as an "upstate Socrates."
Barbara and Martha are two young women Ed and Paul encounter at a bar (Ed calls them both "Agnes").
Jonathan Lynn is the president of the U.S.; he was born Alfred Planck.
Dr. Pond is a real estate agent who shows Paul the 'antiquated' farmhouse that he wants to buy and Mr. Haycox works on the Gottwald farm as its caretaker and 'keeps it going,' according to Pond.
Edgar Hagstrohm and his wife Wanda are average Americans selected at random to be the 'takarus' shown to the visiting Shah. They have a daughter called Delores.
Dr Ned Dodge is the manager of Proteus Park.
Dr Fred Garth is also a high-ranking employee at Ilium works, in line for the same coveted job in Pittsburgh as Paul.
Other people with positions of power in Ilium works are Dr. Francis Gelhorne and Dr. Lou MacCleary.