(Great Characters in Literature)

Characters Discussed

Pan Yan Skshetuski

Pan Yan Skshetuski (sksheh-TEW-skih), a young lieutenant and the valiant hero of this romance dramatizing the seventeenth century struggle for Polish unity. Courageous, loyal to his prince, magnanimous to his defeated enemy, and faithful to his beloved, Pan Yan is a conventional heroic figure.

Princess Helena Kurtsevich

Princess Helena Kurtsevich (kewrt-TSEH-vihch), his beloved. In love with Pan Yan but constantly pursued by a jealous lover, she is alternately a captive and a fugitive from capture. Ultimately, she is saved by Pan Yan’s followers.

Princess Kurtsevich

Princess Kurtsevich, the widow of Prince Constantine Kurtsevich. She is the mother of five sons and the aunt of Helena, whose estate is in her hands. She promises to help Pan Yan with Helena if he will not interfere with the ownership of the estate.


Bogun (BOH-gewn), Princess Kurtsevich’s adopted sixth son and an aspirant for Helena’s hand. Learning of the princess’ plan to help Pan Yan with Helena, he kills her and two of her sons, burns the estate, and pursues Helena relentlessly. At last, he is captured and turned over to Pan Yan, who generously spares his life.

Prince Yeremi Vishnyevetski

Prince Yeremi Vishnyevetski (yeh-

(The entire section is 443 words.)