The Nose Characters

The Nose Character List

Platon Kuzmich Kovalev

A collegiate assessor who calls him "Major" dreams he loses his nose and wakes up to find it reattached. During the first section, he loses his nose. During the second section, he looks for his nose. His main character point is narcissism and outranking characters, and his castration anxiety. His dream was all about castration anxiety, and his desire not to marry, for his fear of commitment. He is an absurd character, and his dreams represent his delusional mind. And everytime he looks in the mirror to see if his nose is there, is him trying to reassure himself of the existence of his identity.

Ivan Yakovlevich

As a barber to the Major, he is a symbol for the castrator. He is a major character of the first section and appears/is mentioned briefly in other sections. Seen as a bastard, as he has no family name. There's a sign over his shop that says "blood-letting done here". He is a drunk and his hands always smell.


A narrator who seems to know the events of the story too well, as if they had participated in them or written the story, and at times breaks the fourth wall beyond the usual sense a narrator would by existing in a story, for example, states opinions about the characters and addresses the reader directly. Third person omniscient, perhaps the author or perhaps someone who knows Kovalev, or Kovalev in thought, or God.

The Nose

Kovalev's nose, a symbol for castration, who comes to life and outranks him as state-councilor. He is found by Yakovlevich, who tries to drown the nose. The nose becomes human-sized and seen by Kovalev, but is retrieved by the District Officer and is wooden and won't reattach and the doctor says it would be difficult to reattach the nose. The nose's detachment is separation of body (phallic) and mind (soul).

Praskovya Osipovna

The wife of Yakovlevich. She is the domineering woman and the stereotype of the classical "hysterical woman". Quite histrionic in her actions in vowing to take matters to the police and being disgusted at her husband's actions and blaming him, making him feel guilty and ashamed, she is a foil for the castration anxiety of Kovalev.

District Constable

First appears and points out than Yakovlevich drops a nose. He then spots Yakovlevich at the bridge, dropping the nose into the water. Then, he visits Kovalev and informs him that the nose has been found. He is very duty-oriented and quite serious. His rank and assertion of power makes him a foil for Kovalev.


A block-headed valet of Kovalev. Kovalev constantly tells him what to do, and this is an example of Kovalev's feeling of pride in himself of outranking him.


Drives Kovalec in a coach across town. He takes orders from Kovalec, an example of the power that Kovalev, even without his nose, tries to assert over someone below his rank.

Pelageya Alexandra Grigorievna Podtochina

Or the Widow.

Called "Pelageya" and "Alexandra", two names, one is possibly a nickname. Her middle name, Grigorievna, comes from Grigori was her father's name plus the addition of evna which female patronymics. Her surname, Podotochina is the female form for Podotochin, -in being a russian ending. The reason why her name is emphasized here is because the text varies the form of her name (Pelageya Grigorievna, Alexandra Podotochina, Alexandra Grigorievna).

She is a widow of the Staff-Officer and her daughter has been suited by many men, but "Madame" wants her to marry Kovalev, who doesn't want to marry her daughter. She is a controlling, finnicky, old woman.

Widow's Daughter

A young girl who the "Major" liked and thought was pretty but didn't want to marry because of his "anxiety" around women.


Treats Kovalev for his detached nose and tells him he does not advise reattaching his nose, although he can, and says he should put it in a bottle of spirits and then sell it to him. The doctor is representative of the absurdity of the story. He does not function as a character of action, rather as one that stirs up nonsense and "satirical farce".


A door-keeper by the Commisioner's Office.

Newspaper Clerk

Kovalev reports his nose is on the loose and he has to meet with two ladies and he asks the Newspaper Clerk to publish an ad in the paper about the nose, but the man says it would ruin the paper's reputation and he makes Kovalev into a fool. Addicted to snuff.

Police Inspector

An inspector who does not feel obliged to help Kovalev and his valet find the nose and is insulted because they wasted his time.

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