A water seller. He interacts with the gods in dreams. His hand is injured by Mr. Shu Fu, who attacks him with a curling iron.
The first of three gods who arrive at the city of Setzuan in the Prologue, looking for a good person. Their task is to find people on the Earth "living lives worthy of human beings."
The second of three gods who arrive at the city of Setzuan in the Prologue, looking for a good person. Their task is to find people on the Earth "living lives worthy of human beings."
The third of three gods who arrive at the city of Setzuan in the Prologue, looking for a good person. Their task is to find people on the Earth "living lives worthy of human beings."
Shen Te/Shui Ta
Shen Te is a former prostitute who has bought a tobacco shop with the money the gods gave her after she let them spend the night in her home when no one else would welcome them. After being taken advantage of for being so "good," Shen Te invents a male alter ego, Shui Ta, her supposed visiting cousin. Shui Ta is economically wise and does not give handouts the way Shen Te often did.
The former owner of Shen Te's tobacco shop. She demands a free handout of rice and money from Shen Te, since now she is too poor to feed her children. After witnessing Shu Fu injure Wong's hand with a curling iron, she convinces Wong to take the case to a judge but then betrays him by "getting on the right side of Mr. Shu Fu."
He enters Shen Te's tobacco shop asking for a free cigarette and she gives it to him.
The carpenter has installed shelves in the tobacco shop before Shen Te purchased it, and he demands one hundred silver dollars for his work. She does not have it, so her "cousin" Shui Ta argues the carpenter down to only twenty silver dollars.
Mrs. Mi Tzu
Shen Te's landlady. She demands six months' rent in advance, rather unfairly, and Shui Ta tells her that Shen Te does not have the money.
An unemployed pilot with whom Shen Te falls in love. When she meets him, he is about to commit suicide because he cannot work as a pilot anymore.
In Scene 3, she sees Shen Te just before Shen Te meets Yang Sun about to hang himself. She is resentful of Shen Te for finding success in a profession other than prostitution.
He arrests the boy of the mooching family after the boy steals food from the bakery around the corner from the tobacco shop. He convinces Shui Ta to put out a marriage advertisement for his "cousin," Shen Te.
He is a carpet seller. After his wife gives Shen Te a loan of two hundred silver dollars, he becomes anxious and wants it back.
She enters the tobacco shop in Scene 2 to buy a cigar for her husband, the old man, with whom she is celebrating forty years of marriage.
Mr. Shu Fu
A barber who wants to marry Shen Te. He injures Wong's hand by whacking it with a hot curling iron. He also writes Shen Te a blank check so she can pay her rent, and offers her the use of his cabins.
The mother of Yang Sun.
The Good Woman of Setzuan Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Good Woman of Setzuan is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Their main job seems to be to find out the qualities of the people they encounter. While they hope to find goodness, charity, and honesty, they encounter people who have all bad vices and seem to have no redeeming qualities. When a poor prostitute...