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Ivan Dmitrich Tchervyakov
Tchervyakov is 'a no less fine' government clerk and the central character to the story. One evening he visits the theatre to see opera. When he finds himself in the highest point of bliss, Tchervyakov suddenly sneezes and spits on a man in front of him. This is Brizzhalov, an important man from the Department of Transport, and Tchervyakov resolves to apologize. The man does not want to listen to Tchervyakov's apologies, he came to listen to the opera. Nevertheless, Tchervyakov still feels the need to explain himself and approaches Brizzhalov several more times in the theatre and also in his office. Eventually Brizzhalov grows frustrated with Tchervyakov and throws him out of his office. It is apparent, that Tchervyakov lives to please his superiors, and when he fails to make Brizzhalov like him, he goes home and dies.
Brizzhalov is an older gentleman who gets accidentally spit on by Tchervyakov in the theatre. He is the civilian general serving in the Department of Transport, in other words an important man. Tchervyakov is frightened and attempts to apologize to him several times, but Brizzhalov does not consider it an important matter and is annoyed by the constant apologies. When Tchervyakov visits him at the office the second time he grows frustrated because he thinks Tchervyakov is making fun of him, and throws him out.
Upon hearing about the dreadful accident in the theatre, the wife of the government clerk advises him to visit Brizzhalov to apologize in person.
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The General sees Ivan as a nuisance. Ivan has no impact on the General's world or worries, but yet, he continues to bother him with something that hadn't mattered anyway. The General was annoyed by Ivan's constant apologies.