(Great Characters in Literature)

Characters Discussed


Arcade (ahr-KAHD), an angel who plans to lead a revolt against God (Ialdabaoth). He gathers together hundreds of thousands of rebel angels but is disappointed when Satan quashes the revolution.

Monsieur Julien Sariette

Monsieur Julien Sariette (zhoo-LYAH[N] sahr-YEHT), the meticulous librarian in charge of the extensive collection that Arcade uses to educate himself for the revolution. Sariette is confounded and frustrated because Arcade scatters the books. When a volume of Lucretius, a very rare work, is lost, Sariette’s mind snaps.

Maurice d’Esparvieu

Maurice d’Esparvieu (moh-REES dehs-pahr-VYEW), a wealthy, lazy young man whose guardian angel is Arcade. After an attempt to dissuade Arcade from his plans, d’Esparvieu regards him with quiet amusement and shares his clothes and his mistress with the angel.

Madame Gilberte des Aubels

Madame Gilberte des Aubels (zheel-BEHR day-zoh-BEHL), Maurice’s mistress, who also bestows her favors on Arcade.


Satan, a sympathetic prince who, petitioned by Arcade and his army of rebels to lead the revolution against God, refuses. The rebel forces accept his reasons for not making war: If the revolution succeeded, Satan and his forces would become as God and the heavenly hosts; that is, they would lose their sympathy for humanity. War begets war, and the vanquished always seek to regain what they have lost. The real duty of the revolutionary army of angels is to stay on Earth to spread the doctrine of love and compassion because only by doing so can God be defeated and peace come to the universe.

Prince Istar

Prince Istar, a rebel angel who specializes in chemistry. He supports the revolutionary cause by manufacturing bombs.


Théophile (tay-oh-FEEL), an angel, approached by Arcade, who refuses to fight God. He is ashamed because he has satisfied his lust with a mortal woman, but he still respects God’s authority.


Sophar (soh-FAHR), an angel who has become a Jewish banker named Max Everdingen. He will not join the rebel forces, but he offers to sell them munitions, the cost of which he would finance at his bank.


Zita (zee-TAH), a hostile female angel who wishes to join the ranks and fight as a man in the revolution.