The Student is the closest thing the play has to a protagonist. He is a young man studying languages, who has recently saved a child from a collapsing house night. He is persuaded by Hummel, the man that financially ruined his father, to find his way into the Colonel's home in order to marry the Colonel's daughter. The Student, having been born on a Sunday, can see ghosts, and has an unusual relationship to the metaphysical world. He is idealistic and hopeful, still in the thick of youth, but by the end of the play, he becomes disillusioned by betrayal and tragedy.
The Old Man, Jacob Hummel
The Old Man sits outside of the Colonel's home waiting for the Student to arrive in order to get into the home. Hummel bankrupted the Student's father years ago, as he was an immoral usurer long ago. Hummel seeks to strip the Colonel of his nobility and all the fine things in his life. He is a vampiric and mercenary man, and has the ability to strip food of its nutrients. Eventually, he is killed by the Mummy, with whom he was once in love. He is the play's primary antagonist.
The Mummy is actually the Colonel's wife. She has been living in a cupboard for decades, suffering in order to repent for the sins of her family. When Hummel attempts to extort the Colonel, she stops him, and Hummel dies. Hummel claims that it was an affair with the Mummy, whose real name is Amelia, that yielded the Girl, but whether or not this is true is left ambiguous.
The Colonel is the head of the household to which the Old Man and the Student wish to gain entry. He is said to have abused his wife, causing her to become a Mummy in their home. He hosts dinner parties where no one speaks. He is an influential man in society upon whom the Old Man preys.
The Girl is the Colonel's daughter, but may be the lovechild of an affair between the Old Man and the Mummy years ago. She is pure and beautiful, but she is doomed to live out her life in the Hyacinth Room in her family home, a place she refers to as "a room of ordeals," because the servants cause more chaos and untidiness than their masters.
Johansson is the Old Man's servant, a young man who has basically become a slave to the ruthless usurer, and who shares secrets and information with both the Student and the Colonel's servant, Bengtsson.
Bengtsson is a servant in the Colonel's home, but he was once a wealthy man, who employed Hummel in his home. He is the one who reveals the secret that Hummel is a vampire of sorts, a man who can suck the nourishment out of food and is evil and greedy.
The Ghost Sonata Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Ghost Sonata is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.