Nikíta Akímitch Tchilíkin
Nikíta Akímitch Tchilíkin (nih-KIH-tah ah-KIH-mihch chih-LIH-kihn), a laborer employed on the farm of Peter Igná-titch. He is engaged in an affair with his employer’s wife, Anísya. Nikíta and his mistress, with the help of Nikíta’s mother, Matryóna, plan Peter’s murder. When their victim is dead, the guilty couple marry and Nikíta becomes master of the farm. Soon tiring of his wife, he begins an affair with Akoulína, by whom he has a child. At the urging of his wife and mother, he kills the baby. At Akoulína’s wedding feast, Nikíta falls on his knees, confesses his crimes, and begs the forgiveness of all he has misused. He is then bound and led away.
Peter Ignátitch (ih-GNA-tihch), a well-to-do peasant. He is murdered for his property by his adulterous wife Anísya, at the instigation of her lover, Nikíta, and his mother, Matryóna.
Anísya (ah-NIH-syah), Peter Ignátitch’s second wife. Engaged in an affair with Peter’s hired man, Nikíta, she is encouraged by her lover and his mother to poison her husband. She marries Nikíta, who soon tires of her. When he has a child by Akoulína, Anísya urges him to kill the child to force him to share her guilt in the poisoning of Peter Ignátitch.
Matryóna (mah-TRYOH-nah), Nikíta’s mother. She urges Anísya to poison Peter Ignátitch so that the way will be left clear for Nikíta’s marriage to Anísya and his mastery of Peter’s farm. Later, she encourages her son to murder his child by Akoulína.
Akoulína (ah-kew-LIH-nah), Peter Ignátitch’s daughter by his first marriage. She is seduced by Nikíta. When their child is born, Nikíta, prompted by Anísya, kills it.
Marína (mah-REE-nah), an orphan girl who is seduced by Nikíta.
Akím (ah-KIHM), Nikíta’s father.