August Wilson

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Troy Maxson

The husband of Rose, and father to Cory and Lyons, Troy is the central character of Fences. Shaped by the effects racism has had on his life—by the struggles it created in… read analysis of Troy Maxson

Cory Maxson

The son of Troy and Rose, Cory embodies a hope for the future unmet by the pessimism of his father. When Cory seeks love and compassion in his relationship with Troy, it’s met with… read analysis of Cory Maxson

Rose Maxson

Wife to Troy and mother of Cory, Rose represents the maternal gentleness of the Maxson household. In opposition to Troy’s toughness and disrespect for Cory’s feelings and opinions, Rose is a source of love… read analysis of Rose Maxson

Lyons Maxson

The son to Troy and his former, unnamed wife (prior to Rose), Lyons strives, against the wishes of his father, to be a professional musician. While Lyons claims to be fundamentally dedicated to music—while… read analysis of Lyons Maxson

Gabriel Maxson

Troy’s brother, Gabriel is the victim of a brain-injury he received at war. As a result of the injury, Gabe’s gone insane and lives trapped in the psychotic belief that he is St. Gabriel. He… read analysis of Gabriel Maxson
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Jim Bono

Troy’s best friend, Bono is the follower in their relationship, evidenced by his admission to Troy when confronting him about his affair with Alberta. Ever since Bono observed Troy’s decision to take Rose’s hand… read analysis of Jim Bono


The child of Troy and Alberta, Raynell is ultimately raised by Rose after both Troy and Alberta die. In this way, Raynell challenges the “fences” that Rose envisions as surrounding, protecting, and holding together… read analysis of Raynell


Alberta is the woman with whom Troy has an affair. At the beginning of the play, Troy and Bono talk crudely about her attractive physique, and Bono questions Troy about his involvement with her throughout… read analysis of Alberta

Mr. Rand

Mr. Rand is Troy and Bono’s manager/overseer at the garbage collection company. Troy confronts Mr. Rand about the racism he perceives in the workplace: that exclusively whites are hired to drive the garbage trucks, while… read analysis of Mr. Rand
Minor Characters
Wife to Bono, Lucille barely appears in the play. Bono always cites her as the reason why he must go home—why he must depart from the Maxson household when he visits. In this way, Lucille reveals Bono’s marital devotion, in direct contrast to Troy’s adultery.
Mr. Stawicki
Mr. Stawicki is Cory’s boss at the A&P store.
Coach Zellman
Coach Zellman is Cory’s football coach in high school—it’s due to Zellman that Cory catches the eye of a college recruiter, but Troy ultimately tells Zellman to ban Cory from the team.
Bonnie is Lyons’s girlfriend early-on in the play; we learn in the end, however, that he’s left her and found another partner.
Ms. Pearl
Ms. Pearl owns the apartment Gabe moves into after he decides to leave the Maxson household in order to, as he says, get out of Troy’s hair.