Ransom Character List


A Greek war general and demigod (he is the son of a water nymph) who undergoes a complex inner conflict centered around the death of Patroclus and the subsequent murder of Hector. Malouf describes him as incredibly powerful, violent and disturbed. He lacks a sense of rationality and tends to make the majority of his decisions entirely based on his emotions. He is attempting to make a point throughout the novel, both to the gods and to the rest of society: that although he is aware that he will eventually die, while he is alive he has some control over his actions. This results in him dragging the body of Hector behind his chariot and other disruptive outbursts. After an encounter with Priam, Achilles learns of the importance of fatherhood and compassion. This epiphany shows a newfound maturity.


The adopted brother of Achillies who came to him very early on in life, as a result of a mishap in a nearby city. He shares an unbreakable bond with Achilles and they are often described as inseparable or having the same mind. They engage in battle together and therefore share many memories. Patroclus goes into battle in Achilles' armor after an argument and is murdered by Hector. Achilles never forgives himself.


A Trojan war hero, Hector is one of Priam's many sons. He is described as an upstanding son who acts exceptionally in everything that he does. Hector kills Patroclus, thinking that he is Achilles, and is then murdered by Achilles.


The elderly and frail King of Troy, Priam is initially described as regal and respected. However, he is ruling over a kingdom that he knows is doomed to destruction. In response to the murder of his son, Hector, he decides to strip himself of all that distinguishes him from the average peasant, and travel to Greece to ransom the body of his son. Priam undergoes a massive character transformation from a father who only associates with his children through tradition and ceremony, to a man with a deep compassion and concern for others. He goes from a King who is accustomed to having others speak for him, to a man who can express his own raw emotions in order to recieve his son's body for proper burial. As the novel's protagonist, Priam's transformation is vital to the overall message of Ransom.


Primary wife of Priam and mother of Hector, Hecuba represents a traditionally feminine role in Greek mythology. She is described as caring greatly about the death of Hector, mourning and sobbing for several days. When Priam confronts her about what to do, she can remember every single detail about every single child, while at times, Priam can hardly differentiate between them. She is motherly, caring, understanding, but not forgiving. She carries a deep and unresolvable resentment for Achilles.

Somax (Ideaus)

The randomly chosen carter that brings Priam on his journey to Greece. He is not as old as Priam, but obviously worn down by his many years of hard labor. He shares many insightful stories with Priam about fatherhood and humanity. He relates to Priam in that the majority of his children have perished under difficult circumstances; however, unlike Priam, he was very close to each one during their lives. Somax is kind and understanding. He helps Priam understand what it is to be human.