The Overcoat


Akakiy Akakievitch Bashmachkin: Bureaucrat in one of the departments of the Russian government in St. Petersburg, the nation's capital city. Bashmachkin, about fifty, is a quiet, self-effacing man with red hair and a receding hairline. His job is to copy documents such as letters. Although he enjoys his work and never makes a mistake, he has no desire to take on more challenging work, realizing that he has limited capabilities. Because he is meek and dresses shabbily, most of his coworkers regard him as a nobody and frequently pick on him. When his cloak becomes so frayed that it can no longer protect him against the bitter cold, he dedicates himself to saving enough money to purchase a new cloak. [1]

Petrovitch: One-eyed, heavy-drinking tailor whom Bashmachkin hires to make his new cloak. Petrovitch was once a serf. [1]

Wife of Petrovitch: Woman of plain looks whom the narrator says Petrovitch calls "a low female and a German" when they argue. [1]

Bearded Assailants: Men who rob Akakiy of his new cloak. [1]

Landlady of Bashmachkin: Elderly woman who advises Akakiy to report the theft of his cloak to the district police chief. [1]

District Police Chief: Official who hears Akakiy's report about his stolen cloak. The policeman asks Akakiy embarrassing questions, as if he were a criminal. The policeman is of no help. [1]

Employee With Advice: Coworker of Akakiy who advises him to see a certain prominent personage in a government office who will help Akakiy track down his stolen cloak. [1]

Prominent Personage: Bureaucrat mainly concerned with demonstrating the power he wields as a supervisor. He excoriates Akakiy for not going through the proper government channels to get an interview. He is of no help. [1]

Physician: Doctor called after Akakiy develops a throat infection. He tells Akakiy's landlady to order a coffin. [1]

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