The Iron Heel Characters

The Iron Heel Character List

Anthony Meredith

Meredith is a historian and scholar from the twenty-seventh century, who has been researching the Everhard Manuscript. He gives footnotes throughout the manuscript, giving clarification wherever necessary. He also explains the history beyond what is mentioned in the Everhard Manuscript.

Avis Everhard

The wife of Ernest Everhard, the central character of the novel, Avis is the narrator of the Everhard Manuscript. Having lived a life of comfort due to her fathers position in the university, she finds it hard to believe the injustices that Ernest Everhard claims that the proletariat face from the Oligarchy. She is unconvinced of Everhard's socialist theories at first but gets convinced later on after she investigates on her own. Later on, she plays a very active role with the revolutionists.

Ernest Everhard

The central figure of the Everhard Manuscript and supposedly the first and second revolution, Ernest Everhard was an exceptionally strong man, both mentally and physically. He was an ambitious and intelligent person with a power to sway people with rhetorics. He was a capable leader who devoted his life to the Revolution and the overthrow of the Oligarchy and establishment of a socialist nation.

John Cunningham

John Cunningham, Avis Everhard's father, was a professor at the State University at Berkeley, California. He was a renown scientist in the field of physics, whose chief contribution to science was his studies of electrons. He is impressed by Ernest Everhard's theories from the beginning, and it is he who invites Everhard to a private dinner where he introduces him to his daughter Avis and Bishop Morehouse. He disappears later on in the novel, around just before the first revolt.

Bishop Morehouse

A clergyman as his title obviously says he is described by Avis Everhard as "a sweet and serious man of middle age, Christ-like in appearance and goodness, and a scholar as well". He meets Everhard at a private dinner at John Cunningham's house and is at first unconvinced by the socialist philosophy put forth by him. He later realizes the truth in Everhard's argument and changes his opinions. When the Oligarchy starts noticing this, they confine him in an asylum, from which he escapes later. He gets killed in the first revolt, at the Chicago Commune.


The Mercenaries are a military caste that arose with the rise of the Oligarchy. According to Meredith, originally, they were private detectives; but they quickly became hired fighting men of the capitalists, and ultimately developed into the Mercenaries of the Oligarchy. As Meredith says, "This institution took the place of the militia, which had proved impracticable under the new regime". They were a major factor in the power-play and struggles between the proletariat and the oligarchs, and often changed sides according to the power-play.

The Oligarchy

Nicknamed 'The Iron Heel' by the Ernest Everhard, the Oligarchy referred to the large capitalists or the trusts who monopolized the society. It was composed of a coalition of bankers, industrialists, and politicians who seized control of the government by manipulating all the industries of the country. The Oligarchy was cruel and heartless, not caring about the proletariat, but rather uses and abuses its power over them. The Oligarchy destroys the first and second rebellion even at the very roots, and pitilessly kills thousands of innocent members of the working class in trying to weed out the revolutionist. It comes to an end centuries later, after which the 'Brotherhood Of Man' is established.

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