Goat-herders to whom the disputed valley in the Prologue used to belong.
Peasants on the Left
Fruit farmers who wish to irrigate the disputed valley in the Prologue.
A man sent by the state to mediate the dispute between the peasants over who owns the valley. He gives the valley to the fruit farmers in the end.
The man who sings the parable of the Caucasian Chalk Circle to the peasants after the delegate has decided to give the valley to the fruit farmers.
The Governor, he is beheaded after his brother the Fat Prince successfully stages a coup.
The Governor's wife, she leaves her baby Michael behind when she flees the Fat Prince. She later tries to get Michael back in order to reclaim the Governor's estates. The judge Azdak rules against her, however, and chooses to instead give the child to Grusha.
The Governor's son and heir to the Governor's estates. He is raised by Grusha who rescues him after his mother Natella abandons him. Grusha later claims him as her own child and Azdak allows her to keep him.
Arsen Kazbeki, the Fat Prince
The brother of the Governor, he stages a coup and kills his brother. After ruling for two years he is deposed and beheaded by the return of the Grand Duke.
A man sent by the Grand Duke to reinstate Azdak as judge even after the Fat Prince has been deposed. The arrival of the Messenger saves Azdak's life since the people were about to kill him.
A soldier who remains loyal to the Grand Duke; he and Grusha fall in love and she promises to marry him when he returns from the war. Instead, she is forced to marry another man before he returns. However, Azdak "mistakenly" annuls the marriage, thereby allowing Grusha and Simon to get together at the end.
A kitchen maid in the palace, she rescues the Governor's son Michael and takes the baby with her. She cares for the child for two years until Natella reclaims Michael. Both women are forced to appear before Azdak who chooses to give the boy to Grusha.
Old Peasant with milk
While fleeing with Michael, Grusha tries to get rid of the boy by leaving him with an old peasant woman. She is forced to reclaim the child in order to save him from some soldiers who want to kill him.
Grusha's brother, with whom she stays for an entire winter. He finally gets rid of his sister by making her marry a "dying" man.
Grusha's sister-in-law, described as a religious woman. She tries everything to get Grusha out of her house.
A "dying" man that Grusha marries in order to protect Michael. As soon as the war ends, Jussup miraculously recovers and demands that Grusha perform her "wifely duties".
A drunk monk, he is paid to perform the marriage ceremony for Grusha and Jussup.
Originally a village recorder, he accidentally saves the Grand Duke's life. He then goes into town and confesses his crime, but the soldiers refuse to believe him. When the Fat Prince arrives and offers the soldiers the chance to choose the new judge, they pick Azdak. He becomes known for arbitrary judgments. He presides over the case where Grusha claims Michael and has them draw the Chalk Circle. After awarding Grusha the child and annulling her marriage, he disappears.
A policeman who becomes Azdak's assistant after Azdak is made judge.
A man who ruled the entire province and under whom many men, including the Governor, served. He is forced into exile for two years when the Fat Prince takes over but returns with an army and kills the Fat Prince. He then saves Azdak's life by allowing Azdak to remain a judge.
A good-looking peasant woman who has had sex with the stable boy. She is brought before Azdak by her father who accuses the Stable boy of raping her. Azdak rules in the Stableboy's favor and then tries to get Ludovica to sleep with him as well.
Poor Old Peasant Woman
She is part of another case tried by Azdak in which "miracles" keep happening to her. Some farmers claim that these "miracles" are all being done by a bandit, her brother-in-law, at their expense. Azdak rules in her favor.
Old Married Couple
They have been married forty years and want a divorce. Azdak hears their case along with the Chalk Circle case. He agrees to annul their marriage, but "accidentally" annuls Grusha's marriage instead.
The Caucasian Chalk Circle Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Caucasian Chalk Circle is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Lavrenti explains to Grusha that if she marries a dying old man from the other side of the mountain, Michael is made a "legitimate". She need not sleep with a man for people to think of Michael having a father: it is enough that it is on paper.