The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth


Norton Juster

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Phantom Tollbooth can help.

The Phantom Tollbooth Characters


The protagonist of the novel, Milo is a little boy who, when readers first meet him, is chronically bored. He doesn’t see the point in doing anything, whether that’s learning in school or playing with… read analysis of Milo


Tock is the first real friend that Milo meets in the Lands Beyond. Tock is a watchdog, which means he’s a massive dog whose body is a ticking alarm clock. Despite displaying a gruff… read analysis of Tock

The Humbug

The Humbug is Milo’s second companion along his journey to rescue the princesses Rhyme and Reason. He’s a giant beetle-like bug dressed smartly in a coat, hat, pants, and spats. He also carries… read analysis of The Humbug

King Azaz the Unabridged

Azaz is the king of Dictionopolis and the Mathemagician’s brother. He’s a huge man with a long beard, and he wears robes embroidered with the alphabet. As the king of the kingdom of words… read analysis of King Azaz the Unabridged

The Mathemagician

The Mathemagician is the king of Digitopolis and King Azaz’s brother. Like his brother, he’s a towering man with a huge beard. His robes are embroidered with complex mathematical equations, and he carries a… read analysis of The Mathemagician
Get the entire The Phantom Tollbooth LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Phantom Tollbooth PDF

Princess of Sweet Rhyme

Rhyme is a princess who, along with her sister Reason, has been imprisoned in the Castle in the Air for many years. Because of this, there’s no rhyme or reason in the Lands Beyond… read analysis of Princess of Sweet Rhyme

Princess of Pure Reason

Reason is a princess who, along with her sister Rhyme, has been imprisoned in the Castle in the Air for many years. Because of this, there’s no rhyme or reason in the Lands Beyond… read analysis of Princess of Pure Reason

The Soundkeeper

The Soundkeeper lives in a fortress in the Valley of Sound and used to manufacture all sounds people needed. She’d then catalogue all sounds in her vast sound library. But, after people in the Valley… read analysis of The Soundkeeper

Officer Shrift

Officer Shrift is the only police officer (and the entire police force) in Dictionopolis. And in addition to being the police force, he’s also the judge and the jailer in town. He’s about two feet… read analysis of Officer Shrift

Faintly Macabre

Faintly Macabre—or Aunt Faintly to Milo—is imprisoned in the dungeons of Dictionopolis. Though Milo first believes she’s a witch, Faintly Macabre corrects him that she’s actually a Which. She was once the Official Which… read analysis of Faintly Macabre

Alec Bings

Alec Bings is a little boy Milo, Tock, and the Humbug meet in the Forest of Sight. He sees through things and sees things how they truly are, which provides some humor as… read analysis of Alec Bings

The Whether Man

The Whether Man is the first person Milo meets in the Lands Beyond. He lives in Expectations and, when people honk, he runs to the road to dispense advice. But the Whether Man hates making… read analysis of The Whether Man

The Lethargians

The Lethargians are small creatures who live in the Doldrums. There are many of them, and aside from the fact that they blend in with whatever they’re sitting on, they all look exactly the same… read analysis of The Lethargians

The Spelling Bee

The spelling bee is a giant bee, about twice the size of Milo, who lives in Dictionopolis. He can spell any word correctly—and he often spells things he says as he’s speaking. The spelling… read analysis of The Spelling Bee

The Giant, Midget, Thin Man, and Fat Man

The giant, midget, thin man, and fat man are actually all the same person, a man who is average in terms of every physical attribute. He lives in a house with four doors, each labeled… read analysis of The Giant, Midget, Thin Man, and Fat Man

Dr. Kakofonous A. Dischord

Dr. Dischord (the A. in his name stands for “As Loud As Possible”) creates all terrible sounds in the world and sells them as medicine to cure people of a lack of sound, which is… read analysis of Dr. Kakofonous A. Dischord


The DYNNE is Dr. Dischord’s assistant. He’s a cloud of blue smog with yellow eyes who lives much of the time in bottles, but can emerge from the bottle and exist as a cloud… read analysis of The DYNNE


Canby is a man who greets people when they arrive on Conclusions, an island in the Sea of Knowledge. His personality is always changing, as he’s as courageous as can be, as cowardly as can… read analysis of Canby

The Dodecahedron

The Dodecahedron is the first being to greet Milo, Tock, and the Humbug when they enter Digitopolis. He’s a figure with 12 faces, and each of his faces wears a different expression. So… read analysis of The Dodecahedron

The Child

Milo meets the child on the staircase leading to infinity. The child isn’t a whole child; rather, he’s .58 of a child and so is just over half of a child’s left side. He loves… read analysis of The Child

Terrible Trivium

The Terrible Trivium is the first demon Milo and his friends encounter in the Mountains of Ignorance, though he doesn’t initially look like a demon. Rather, he looks like a well-dressed man—but one without a… read analysis of Terrible Trivium

The Demon of Insincerity

The Demon of Insincerity at first seems helpful; he guides Milo and his friends through deep sludge. But once Milo, Tock, and the Humbug fall into a pit, the demon says he loves to… read analysis of The Demon of Insincerity

The Gelatinous Giant

The Gelatinous Giant is a huge giant whom Milo, Tock, and the Humbug encounter in the Mountains of Ignorance. They wander into his hand, where he picks them up and threatens to eat… read analysis of The Gelatinous Giant

The Official Senses Taker

The Official Senses Taker sits at the bottom of the spiral staircase leading to the Castle in the Air. His purpose is to hold people up by gathering all information he can about them—and… read analysis of The Official Senses Taker
Minor Characters
The Everpresent Wordsnatcher
The Everpresent Wordsnatcher is a giant, dirty bird that Milo and his friends meet just after entering the Mountains of Ignorance. Though he’s not technically a demon, the Wordsnatcher wishes he was. He twists Milo’s words and is impossible to get information out of because of this.
Chroma is the conductor of the orchestra that plays all the colors in the Lands Beyond. He’s a tall man who conducts his orchestra with full body movements.
The Duke of Definition
The duke is one of King Azaz’s advisors.
The Minister of Meaning
The minister is one of King Azaz’s cabinet members.
The Earl of Essence
The earl is one of King Azaz’s advisors; he’s often choosing the wrong words, getting into trouble, and angering his fellow cabinet members.
The Count of Connotation
The count is an advisor to King Azaz.
The Undersecretary of Understanding
The undersecretary is a cabinet member in King Azaz’s court.