A man who has always been too curious and too intelligent for his peers and his society, he finds a secret tunnel where he conducts scientific experiments and rediscovers electricity. He tries to show the World Council of Scholars his electrical invention, but he is forced to run away from the City and is joined by Liberty 5-3000, whom he loves and who calls him "the Unconquered." In the process, he realizes the dangers of collectivism and, upon learning the word "I," renames himself "Prometheus."
Council of Vocations
Three males and two females with white hair and cracked faces who assign Equality 7-2521 the job of Street Sweeper after he leaves the Home of the Scholars.
A pale, stupid, and sickly boy who suffers from seizures. When Equality 7-2521 is younger, he tries unsuccessfully to imitate Union 5-3992's dullness, and when the two are older they work in a brigade of Street Sweepers with International 4-8818. Union 5-3992 is too slow to understand Equality 7-2521's contact with Liberty 5-3000.
A friend of Equality 7-2521, he is a fellow Street Sweeper and has laughter in his eyes. He is too afraid to break the law and join his friend in exploring the secret tunnel, but he is loyal and does not betray Equality 7-2521 and tell the authorities about his friend's use of the tunnel or contact with Liberty 5-3000.
Referred to by Equality 7-2521 as the Golden One, she is one of the Peasants who till the land outside of the city, but unlike the other women she is tall, beautiful, and proud. She and Equality 7-2521 admit their love for each other, and when he runs away into the Uncharted Forest, she follows him. After they find a home, he renames her Gaea.
A Street Sweeper, he is "a quiet boy with wise, kind eyes" who often cries for a reason he cannot understand.
A Street Sweeper who is fearless and bright in the daytime but screams "Help us!" in his sleep. His screams unsettle those around him, but the Doctors cannot cure him.
Also called the Saint of the pyre by Equality 7-2521, he speaks the Unspeakable Word "I" and is burned at the stake. He goes to his death proudly and calmly, and as he dies, he looks at Equality 7-2521 as if to ask Equality 7-2521 to find the Unspeakable Word and be his heir.
The men from the unmentionable times who had most fully realized a society that celebrated the power of the individual but who were destroyed in the Dawn of the Great Rebirth by the originators of the current collectivist society.
Council of the Home
The men who are in charge of Equality 7-2521's living situation, they tell him that he is happy because he is working for other men, and later they send him to the Palace of Corrective Detention.
The men who torture and question Equality 7-2521 about his whereabouts at the Palace of Corrective Detention.
The oldest and wisest member of the World Council of Scholars, who rejects Equality 7-2521's present of the glass box and who leads the others in his reprimanding of Equality 7-2521 for his temerity. He announces that the glass box must be destroyed.
World Council of Scholars
The annual meeting of the world's most important scholars, the World Council is actually nothing more than a frightened, intolerant group of men.
Anthem Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Anthem is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
The council is angry that Equality crashed their meeting, particularly because he was a mere street sweeper. After he shows them the lightbulb, they become frightened and even angrier than they were before. He is threatened with punishment for...
The setting for this novel is a dystopian-like collectivist state. Everybody must work for the benefit of the whole state. Unfortunately, like many collectivist states, the reality is not ideal. There is a forced conformity and a complete lack of...