Jimmy is the “angry young man” of the play, usually found spouting tirades against the complacency of the British upper classes, and especially against his wife Alison and then his lover Helena. Born working… (read full character analysis)
A woman from an upper class background, and Jimmy’s wife. She is drawn to Jimmy’s energy, but also exhausted by their constant fighting. Jimmy accuses her of being too complacent and lacking “enthusiasm,” and… (read full character analysis)
A kind man of working class background, and a good friend and roommate to both Jimmy and Alison. He lives with the couple, and helps to keep them together. Cliff is “easy and relaxed… (read full character analysis)
Alison’s upper class friend, who comes to stay with the couple while acting in a play, and ends up having an affair with Jimmy after Alison leaves him. She is described as having a… (read full character analysis)
Jimmy’s friend, who took Alison and Jimmy into his apartment in the first months of their marriage. He was Jimmy’s partner when they went on “raids” against Alison’s upper class friends at fancy parties… (read full character analysis)
The only one of Alison’s friends that Jimmy thinks has any value. Webster plays the banjo and is able to talk in Jimmy’s “dialect.” Jimmy believes that Webster is gay.
Jimmy’s first love, a woman ten years older than he is. He sees her as an example of the “enthusiasm” that Alison lacks.
Alison’s brother, a politician. Jimmy considers him “just about as vague as you can get without actually being invisible.” Alison wishes that she could have reached out to Nigel during the difficult first months of her marriage, because he would have been affectionate and loving to her.
Alison’s mother strongly disapproved of Jimmy and Alison’s marriage, and went to great lengths to prevent it. She did this out of a protective love for Alison. However, Colonel Redfern says that he thinks his wife went too far in her actions.
The couple’s landlord. Alison is worried that she’ll evict them for being too rowdy, while Jimmy considers her a thief, reflecting his negative view of people with financial power.