The Pillowman Characters

The Pillowman Character List

Katurian Katurian

A writer whose writing is based on Franz Kafka/The Brothers Grimm and character is based of Josef K. from The Trial by Kafka, who is charged with killing three children that parallel his stories which are about child murderers. He is close to his brain-damaged older brother, Michal. He claims he is innocent, and turns out to be so after he finds out his brother killed the kids, who was influenced by his stories. He wanted to spare him from being executed by the police, so he killed Michal himself with a pillow. He has only published one story. Detective Tupolski wants to burn his stories after his execution but Detective Ariel secretly saves them. He serves as a narrator of the short stories in the play, mostly writing unhappy endings. He later confesses to six killings (the three kids, his parents, and his brother) on the condition his stories are saved.

Detective Ariel

Claims to be "the bad cop" at the beginning, but transforms to the more "sympathetic" cop at the end. A totalitarian, dictorial cop and a counterpart to Tupolski. More a physical torturer than a verbal torturer.

Detective Tupolski

An investigator, less violent and aggressive, but very unfeeling. A counterpart to Detective Ariel, one of the totalitarian, dictitorial cops who dominate Katurian and Michal. Tupolski is "the good cop" at the beginning, but by being a good cop he spares no feelings. More verbal torturer than a physical torturer.

Michal Katurian

Katurian's mentally disabled brother. He is responsible for killing the children. He looks up to Katurian and thinks he's an excellent writer. He confesses to the murders of the children and screams because they tell him to. He kills the kids because Katurian's stories "told him to". His favorite stories are "The Pillowman" and "The Little Green Pigs". He appears in act two and is killed by Katurian at the end of the act by smothering him with a pillow (after telling him the Little Green Pigs story), but makes a brief appearance at the end of act three.


The father of the writer. Tortures the writer's brother to inspire the writer son.


A young writer.


The mother of the writer. Tortures her other son to inspire her writer son; an abusive stepmother.

The Little Jesus

A girl who was killed in the style of one of Katurian's more violent tales.

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