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All the King's Men | Study Guide

Robert Penn Warren

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All the King's Men | Characters

Character Description
Jack Burden Narrator Jack Burden works for the governor of the state, Willie Stark—where he unearths scandalous truths, which lead him to take responsibility for his life. Read More
Willie Stark Also called the Boss, Willie Stark sees the world as corrupt and uses this rationalization to justify his own corruption and achieve his goals as governor. Willie sincerely wants to do good, but because he sees himself as above the law he determines what is good to suit himself. Read More
Anne Stanton Anne Stanton is an idealistic member of an elite southern family. She suffers disillusionment but recovers and marries her true love. Read More
Adam Stanton Adam Stanton is an idealistic surgeon from an elite southern family; he suffers much disillusionment, which results in his assassination of Willie and his own death. Read More
Judge Irwin A member of an old, elite family, Judge Irwin commits a scandal, refuses to divorce his wife and marry the woman who bore his son, and finally commits suicide rather than suffer disgrace. Read More
Sadie Burke An intelligent, determined, cynical political assistant, Sadie Burke guides Willie's rise to governor, has an affair with him, and then betrays him when he has an affair with Anne Stanton. Read More
Jack's mother Jack's mother loves Judge Irwin and bears his son, Jack, but when the judge refuses to divorce his wife and marry her, she unsuccessfully tries to find love elsewhere. Read More
Ellis Burden Ellis Burden is a scholarly attorney. He marries Jack's mother, abandons her and Jack, and becomes a fanatical preacher living in poverty.
Mabel Carruthers Mabel Carruthers is Judge Irwin's second wife.
Hubert Coffee A hired hand for Gummy Larson, Hubert Coffee attempts to convince Adam Stanton to use the corrupt Larson as the construction contractor for the planned hospital.
Count Covelli Jack's mother meets Count Covelli in Europe, and she returns with him to her home. He lives with her and Jack for a while but suddenly leaves.
Jefferson Davis Before Jefferson Davis becomes president of the Confederacy, he meets Cass Mastern. Davis seems like a decent man who reluctantly accepts the position as president.
Delphy Delphy is a female slave; she is harshly inspected on the auction block.
Tiny Duffy Tiny Duffy is a political "yes" man; Willie makes him lieutenant governor of the state. However, Tiny gets angry with Willie when he reneges on a construction contract and gets his revenge by informing Adam Stanton that his sister is having an affair with Willie. As a result, Stanton assassinates Willie.
Miss Dumonde Miss Dumonde is an attractive young woman whom Jack is forced to entertain at a dinner party. Even though she is desperate to snag a husband, Miss Dumonde scolds Jack Burden for not being honest about his negative feelings for her.
The Frenchman In the antebellum South, the Frenchman rudely inspects Delphy, a female slave on the auction block.
Marvin Frey Marvin Frey is the father of Sibyl, the young woman who gets pregnant by Willie's son, Tom.
George A homeless man, George makes sculptures out of chewed bread crusts. Ellis Burden takes care of him.
Caresse Jones Caresse Jones gets in a car accident while Tom drives.
Gummy Larson A friend of Tiny Duffy, Gummy is a construction contractor and tough businessman. He wants to get the contract for the hospital, but Willie doesn't want to give it to him because of Gummy's underhanded business practices.
Lily Mae Littlepaugh The sister of Mortimer L. Littlepaugh, Lily Mae Littlepaugh works as a poverty-stricken psychic medium. She provides evidence about Judge Irwin's scandal by giving Jack Burden Mortimer's suicide note.
Mortimer L. Littlepaugh An honest, loyal worker, Mortimer L. Littlepaugh is fired from his job with a power company to make room for Judge Irwin. As a result Mortimer writes a suicide note explaining the judge's scandal and then jumps off a balcony, killing himself.
Lucy Lucy is Willie's wife. At first she supports Willie's ambitions early in his political career. However, when Willie becomes corrupt and has many affairs, she leaves him. After her son's death Lucy finds some hope by adopting her illegitimate grandson.
Sam MacMurfee Sam MacMurfee is Willie's main political rival. MacMurfee attempts to blackmail Willie to prevent him from running for a Senate seat, thereby leaving the position open for him.
Malaciah Malaciah is an old friend of Willie from his hometown. Malaciah's son is in jail for killing a man, but Willie wants the charges dropped.
Man The man has a twitch in his face, which makes Jack Burden see him as a living example of the Great Twitch theory.
Billie Martin Billie Martin is Tom Stark's football coach. Martin has difficulty disciplining Tom because of his father's influence.
Cass Mastern Cass Mastern is Jack Burden's great-uncle. Before the Civil War he leads a privileged life as a plantation owner but has a crisis of conscience when he realizes the suffering he has caused from having an affair with a married woman.
Gilbert Mastern Gilbert Mastern is the wealthy great-uncle of Jack Burden. Mastern rescues his brother Cass and sister from poverty but becomes upset when Cass frees his slaves.
The Mexican An old man, the Mexican works in a restaurant that Ellis Burden often frequents.
Alex Michel A country boy and political up-and-comer, Alex Michel introduces Willie to Jack Burden.
Hugh Miller An honest politician, Hugh Miller resigns from his position as attorney general because he disagrees with Willie about not impeaching Byram B. White.
Morrisey One of Willie's "yes" men, Morrisey follows Hugh Miller as attorney general.
Theodore Murrell An executive attorney, Theodore Murrell marries Jack's mother partly for her wealth and nice house. Jack Burden despises Theodore because he sees him as a superficial man leeching off his wife.
Old Woman The old woman works at the Mexican restaurant frequented by Ellis Burden.
Mr. Patton A guest of Judge Irwin, Mr. Patton criticizes the corrupt practices of Willie.
Mrs. Patton A guest of Judge Irwin, Mrs. Patton agrees with her husband's criticism of Willie.
Phebe Phebe is Annabelle Trice's personal slave. Because she has knowledge of her owner's liaisons, Annabelle sells her.
The photographer The photographer takes publicity pictures of Willie with his father at the father's farm.
Dolph Pillsbury The corrupt chairman of a commission board, Dolph Pillsbury becomes hostile toward Jack when Jack pries into the commission granting a construction contract to build a school.
Sen-Sen A political operator, Sen-Sen thinks of the idea of using Willie as a stooge to draw votes away from MacMurfee in a Democratic primary for governor.
Sheriff A friend of Dolph Pillsbury, the sheriff become hostile toward Jack Burden when he pries into a construction contract for building a school.
Sibyl Sibyl has an affair with Willie's son, Tom. Soon she gets pregnant, which could create a scandal that prevents Willie from being elected as a senator.
Mr. Simms Mr. Simms is a slave auctioneer. Cass Mastern describes Phebe to him with the hope of finding her, but Mr. Simms isn't helpful.
Slade Slade owns a tavern often used by Jack Burden.
Calvin Sperling Calvin Sperling is the commissioner of agriculture and a friend of Willie.
Governor Stanton Governor Stanton is apparently an upstanding politician and the father of Adam and Anne Stanton. He commits a scandal by covering up Judge Irwin's own scandal. After the governor's death Adam and Anne become disillusioned about their family when they learn about their father's cover-up.
Sugar-Boy Sugar-Boy is the dim-witted driver and bodyguard for Willie. He is one of the few people that Willie trusts completely.
Tom Stark Tom is the spoiled son of Willie and Lucy. A gifted athlete, Tom becomes a cocky college football hero, who parties hard and gets a woman pregnant. Eventually he suffers a severe football injury, which leaves him paralyzed. Tom dies from pneumonia.
Annabelle Trice The wife of Duncan Trice, Annabelle Trice has an affair with Cass Mastern. A harsh, self-centered woman, Annabelle sells her slave Phebe when Phebe finds out that Duncan committed suicide because of Annabelle's infidelity.
Duncan Trice The husband of Annabelle Trice, Duncan Trice befriends Cass Mastern but commits suicide when he learns that his wife is having an affair with Mastern.
Caroline Turner Caroline Turner beats her slaves because she can't stand having them look at her.
Byram B. White As state auditor, Byram B. White has delusions of grandeur by getting involved in a corrupt scheme with the hope of becoming rich. However, Willie chastises White for his folly and makes him sign a letter of resignation to be used against him if needed.
Willie's father Willie's father is a farmer and estranged from his son. Even though he misses his son, Willie treats him without true affection.
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