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Jacob is the main character in the story. He is a very religious Jew with extreme beliefs. After the Cossacks decimated his village, Josefov, he was enslaved and moved to work in a village in Poland far from his own. His wife and children get killed in the massacre, but he does not make sure of that except in the middle of the story. His master's daughter, Wanda, falls in love with him and tries to allure him every day into marrying her or doing 'sinful acts', as he describes them. Eventually, he loves her back and finds that love growing to a very strong degree. Jacob faces an internal dilemma (Wanda), and an external one (discrimination in the village he is in). There is also a religious dilemma because he tries to keep his religion and follow it word to word, but as Wanda enters his life, he starts to question it, yet he stays a very religious man throughout the story. Jacob's character is really determined, for he tries to fight the temptations Wanda tries to put him in.
Wanda is also one of the major characters in the story. After she successfully convinces Jacob to marry her, she faces a problem. The only way Jacob can marry her (due to his Jewish beliefs) is when she converts into a Jew by believing in God and the actual religion rather than just for love. Wanda works hard to learn a lot of Judaism in a small amount of time, and fortunately, Jacob was her teacher. She started asking questions that truly meant that she wanted to convert to the religion after genuinely believing in it. Wanda's love is unique and never seen before. She risks her life and identity and tells Jacob that she will really escape with him when he marries her. Her strong love for Jacob made her sacrifice a lot, and their relationship grows. The strength of this love is proved when Jacob tries to marry another woman from Josefov after he got ransomed but constantly dreams of Wanda and her asking him to come get her and marry her.
Jan Bzik is a minor character. He is the owner of Jacob. He is a kind man who helped Jacob and gave him shelter despite his religion and the known hatred of Jews in his village. Jan Bzik starts to understand that Wanda and Jacob love each other yet he never objects. He is a very wise man. An example of that is when he was on his deathbed and the village was urging Wanda to marry Zagayek's son although she did not want to, he told her and advised her to follow her heart and marry the man she loves. He also told her to ignore what people want and do what she finds right. Bzik's wife and mother-in-law wanted him to die as soon as possible when he got sick, and they always made fun of his illness in front of everyone.
Zagayek is also a minor character. He is the leader of the village Jacob lived in as a slave. Everyone feared him and his character, although not mentioned a lot, seemed obstinate and mean. His son loved Wanda and wanted to marry her, so Wanda's family thought that was a good deal because of the reputation and money they will gain.
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Without his family Jacob's life would be hell. This is partly to do with the fact that he lives in an unstable, sometimes close-minded community, but mostly it has to do with the fact that he tragically lost his family once already, in the...