The Analects of Confucius

The Analects of Confucius Character List

Meng I Tzu/Mang I

A young patrician of the state of Lu who was sent to study under Confucius by his father. He died in 481 BC.

Meng Wu Po/Mang Wu

The son of Meng I Tzu/Mang I.


A disciple.

Yen Hui/Yan Yuan

Confucius's most celebrated disciple and possibly his favorite. His early death caused Confucius some dismay and is mentioned at several points in the text. It is unclear if the statements regarding him preceded his death or were uttered afterwards.


A disciple sometimes referred to as Yu.


A disciple.

Duke Ai

The Duke of Lu from 494-468.

Confucius/The Master/Master K'ung

A Chinese philosopher, politician, and teacher who lived from 551-479 BC. His philosophy emphasized morality, sincerity, and a mindfulness of the proper way of conducting oneself in all matters. The Analects represent a collection of his sayings as documented by his disciples after his death.

Lin Fang

A disciple who some scholars believe was known primarily for his slow wit and general lack of intelligence.

Jan Ch'iu/Ran Qiu

A court minister in service to the Chi family. Confucius asks him if he cannot persuade the family from making offerings on Mount T'ai. He replies that he cannot.


A revered disciple whom Confucius compliments for his grasp of the Book of Songs.

Wang-sun Chia

The Commander-in-Chief of Wei.

Tsai Yu/Zai Yu

A disciple of Confucius with whom he expressed great disappointment. He is portrayed in the text as lazy and argumentative at times. Some scholars see Book V, Ch. 9 as evidence that Confucius regretted taking him on as a disciple.

Kuan Chung/Guan Zhong

A 7th-century BC statesman who built up the power of the Ch'i kingdom. He is regarded as having greatly expanded the political power of the kingdom during his time. Confucius presents an alternative view of him as one who did little to raise the moral status of the kingdom while depriving the Chou king of his rightful power as ruler.

Master Tseng

Sometimes called "Zengzi" or "Zeng Shen", this disciple is credited with a number of sayings. He likely became a leader in the Confucian community in Lu and took on disciples of his own, Confucius's grandson among them.

Jan Yung/Zhonggong

An important Confucian figure who appears to have been well liked and respected by Confucius. See Book VI, Ch. 1.

Master Yu/You Ruo

This character appears almost entirely in Book I and may have had disciples of his own; it is unclear why he is not quoted more in the other books.

Yuan Ssu

Little is known of this disciple. It is believed he withdrew from society and lived in Wei following Confucius's death.

Ch'i-tiao K'ai/Qidiao Kai

This figure only appears once in the text (Book V,Ch. 6), but it is in a positive light. He refuses to seek office after announcing that he has not yet perfected the virtue of good faith.

Gongxi Chi/Kung-hsi Hua

A native of Lu. It is believed he was chiefly responsible for the rituals conducted at Confucius's funeral.

Yan Yan

A native of Wu, distinguished for his literary knowledge.


A native of Chen, believed to be forty-eight years younger than Confucius. Some scholars see disagreement between him and other disciples following Confucius's death.


Confucius's son, who is believed to have died before his father. There is little mention of him in the text, though it is clear that his death greatly affected Confucius.


A disciple of Confucius. Little is known of him.

Yang Huo

A retainer for the Chi family, he is believed to have usurped power from the Chi family after being made steward of the domain of Pi. In Book XVII, Ch.1 Confucius seeks to avoid direct contact with such a person but after Yang Huo makes an eloquent statement about the need to serve in government, Confucius agrees to meet him. There is no evidence that Confucius served Yang Huo, however.

Kung-shan Fu-jao

The Warden of Pi, the chief stronghold of the Chi family. He revolted against the Chi Family in 502 BC. He summons Confucius in Book XVII. Confucius believes Kung-shan may have designs to restore the Duke to his rightful position.

Pi Hsi

An officer of the Chin.

Chieh Yu

The madman of Ch'u. Confucius encounters him in Book XVIII and wishes to speak with him but Chieh Yu runs off, making conversation impossible.