The Emperor Jones


Eugene O’Neill

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The Emperor Jones Characters

Brutus Jones

Brutus Jones, the protagonist of the play, is a black American who has become the emperor of an unnamed island in the West Indies. Prior the start of the play, Jones worked for ten years… read analysis of Brutus Jones


Smithers is a cantankerous white sailor and a friend of sorts of Jones's. From his opening conversation with Jones, the viewer learns that Smithers gave Jones his start on the island by employing him… read analysis of Smithers


Lem is the chief of the natives on the island in the West Indies. He's an older man and very wise—he is spare with his words and says, simply and confidently, that he and the… read analysis of Lem

The Witch Doctor

The witch doctor is an old man from Congo who is sent to Jones as an apparition. He dances a story about fighting evil spirits and at the end he attempts to sacrifice Jones to… read analysis of The Witch Doctor
Minor Characters
Jeff, an apparition created by the natives, is a ghost of sorts of the black man that Jones murdered back in the United States. Prior to the start of the play, Jones killed the human version of Jeff because Jeff cheated him in a game of dice.
The Prison Guard
The prison guard is a white guard whom Jones murdered while working on a chain gang. He appears in the play as an apparition sent by the natives.
The Planter
The planter is an apparition sent by the natives to torment Jones. During a ghostly slave auction, the planter purchases Jones.
The Auctioneer
The auctioneer is an apparition created by the natives. During one of the apparitions, the auctioneer sells slaves, including Jones, to planters in the pre-Civil War South.
The Old Woman
The old woman is one of Jones's subjects on the island in the West Indies. She's one of the last natives to leave the palace for the hills, and she explains to Smithers that the natives are rebelling.