Hector is the central character in the play, a beloved teacher who believes that his students should learn literature by heart in order to help them weather life’s difficulties. His teaching style is irreverent and… read analysis of Hector
A young, recent university graduate who comes to teach history at the school and help prepare the boys for their university entrance exams. Irwin’s philosophy of education is about looking at questions from an unconventional… read analysis of Irwin
The Headmaster of the grammar school where the action of the play takes place, his real name is Felix Armstrong. He is very concerned with sending the boys to Oxford and Cambridge in order to… read analysis of Headmaster
Mrs. Lintott, whose first name is Dorothy, is a lower-form history teacher at the grammar school, and the only female character who speaks in the play. She is very good at giving the boys a… read analysis of Mrs. Lintott
Dakin is charming, manipulative, self-confident, and handsome. This makes him popular at school, and at least three of the male characters in the play are sexually attracted to him (Posner, Hector, and… read analysis of Dakin
Scripps is Dakin’s closest friend, a pianist, and an aspiring writer. He is a devout and practicing Christian, and he says that his parents don’t understand this choice. Scripps delivers a large chunk of… read analysis of Scripps
Rudge is a talented athlete from a working-class background. The teachers all underestimate him, and don’t believe that he has much chance of being accepted to Oxford. Rudge surprises them, however, although he gets in… read analysis of Rudge
She never appears on stage, but Fiona is the Headmaster’s young secretary. Throughout the play, she is also seeing Dakin. We learn about her mostly in the context of Dakin’s sexual exploits, which… read analysis of Fiona
At the beginning of Act Two, we meet an unidentified man who seems to be writing some sort of journalistic piece about Irwin, Hector, and Dakin. By the end of the scene… read analysis of Man
Lockwood is a thoughtful student who also participates in the class’s irreverent joking. He becomes a magistrate.
Akthar is a Muslim student, a fact that is referred to several times throughout the play. He eventually becomes the headmaster of a school.
Timms is a funny and confident student. He often contributes to the class’s lively banter. He ends up owning a chain of dry-cleaners and using drugs.
Crowther is an aspiring actor and theater enthusiast. He is one of the quieter students in the class. He eventually becomes a magistrate.
The director only appears in one scene at the beginning of Act Two, helping Irwin with his television history piece about King Henry VIII. He is pre-occupied with making a historical documentary that won’t be too hard for people to understand.
At one point during the filming of Irwin’s television documentary, a non-speaking make-up assistant brings Posner off the set when Irwin decides that he is no longer welcome there.