Vladimir, the grand prince of Kiev from 980 to 1015. The ruler, an actual figure from history, is best known for bringing Christianity to Kievan Russia, the territory that eventually would expand into the Russian Empire. He was also the hero of legends and tales. In this poem, he is featured merely as the father of the bride, Lyudmila.
Lyudmila, the younger daughter of Vladimir. Whisked away from her bridegroom Ruslan on their wedding night and held captive by the sorcerer Chernomor, she is no languishing damsel in distress. The high-spirited young woman almost succeeds in outwitting her would-be-ravisher. Only by using her love for Ruslan to trick her is Chernomor able to snare her and put her into an enchanted sleep.
Ruslan, a member of Vladimir’s famed warrior retinue and Lyudmila’s betrothed. True-hearted and brave in the face of danger, despair, and humiliation, he must pass through a number of trials to rescue his bride.
Rogday, the first of Ruslan’s three human challengers. Genuinely brave but dour and pugnacious, he intends to fight his way into Vladimir’s favor by doing away with Ruslan and rescuing Lyudmila.
Ratmir, a young Khazar khan who is another of Ruslan’s rivals. Quick and passionate, and excited by the prospect of wedding and bedding Lyudmila, he too sets out...
(The entire section is 523 words.)