A passionate but occasionally brash man, Kĩgũũnda is the husband of Wangeci and father of Gathoni. He is frustrated with his lack of money and autonomy, but allows himself to be seduced by Kĩoi and his lifestyle. This leads to his eventual humiliation and loss of precious title deed, pushing him into temporary drunkenness, but he is eventually saved by Gĩcaamba's revolutionary rhetoric; by the end of the play, he devotes himself to the struggle against traitorous Kenyan elites and foreign influences.
The wife of Kĩgũũnda and mother of Gathoni, Wangeci is grudgingly aware of the class struggle but is wary of doing anything to compromise her daughter's happiness and her own standing in the eyes of her betters. She is ambivalent about independence, more rooted in the everyday than the universal struggle. She is weary, though, from poverty, and is resentful of foreigners and being humiliated by her betters. She comes to agree with the others that there must be a new movement of the people.
The beautiful but superficial daughter of Kĩgũũnda and Wangeci, Gathoni falls in love with John. Her desire to be admired and rich leads her to ignore class differences, and she ends up pregnant and jilted. She eventually leaves her family to become a barmaid.
A wealthy, greedy, and devious Kenyan who has embraced the religion and values of the white man, Kĩoi is the antagonist of the play. He encourages Kĩgũũnda to convert to Christianity and eventually swindles him out of his small parcel of land. He is depicted as a traitor to his people.
The snobby wife of Kĩoi and mother to John, Jezebel -- as her name implies -- is an immoral woman because of her association with foreigners and her place within the rapacious colonial elite.
A poor laborer and the husband of Njooki, Gĩcaamba is articulate, passionate, and intelligent. He advocates the Marxist class struggle, comparing it to his days of being a Mau Mau rebel fighting the colonial oppressors. He encourages Kĩgũũnda and Wangeci to not have any dealings with Kĩoi and Jezebel, and, once his friends' fortunes go downhill, to rise up against foreigners, the Kenyan elite, Western religions, etc.
The wife of Gĩcaamba, she is almost as radical as her husband; she encourages Wangeci to be aware of class differences and push back against elite oppressors.
Husband to Helen, Ndugĩre is a newly rich Kenyan who is now friends with Kĩoi on account of his social status. He is Christian as well, but is clearly blinded by Western values and is betraying his fellow Kenyans.
The wife of Ndugĩre, Helen is also Christian and smugly ignorant of the class struggle since she and her husband now have money.
Ikuua wa Nditika
A portly, irreverent, and wealthy Kenyan who works with Kĩoi. He is loud and dissolute, but is ostensibly Christian.
The son of Kĩoi and Jezebel, John romances Gathoni, but ultimately abandons and criticizes her when he learns she is pregnant. He is morally bankrupt, like his parents.
I Will Marry When I Want Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for I Will Marry When I Want is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.