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Anthem | Study Guide

Ayn Rand

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Anthem | Character Analysis


Equality 7-2521

Equality 7-2521 feels like he must have been born with a curse that makes him more curious than his fellow men. His "curse" gives him the urge to be alone and experiment to discover knowledge about the Science of Things. His "curse" makes him commit the Transgression of Preference in many cases. He longed to be assigned the job of a Scholar. He considers International 4-8818 a friend even though they are not permitted to have friends. He loves Liberty 5-3000 even though she is off limits to him. His "curse" eventually drives him to the indiscretion of presenting his electrical invention to the council, which results in his exile in the Uncharted Forest. Once away from his oppressive collective, and with Liberty 5-3000 by his side, Equality 7-2521 is able to gain the knowledge of the Unmentionable Times and fully claim his individual identity of "I." Assuming the name Prometheus signals the completion of his transformation from slave of the collective to master of his own destiny and bearer of light and hope to all mankind.

Liberty 5-3000

Liberty 5-3000 is seen only through the eyes of Equality 7-2521, but he singles her out for his attention because she is like him. She stands straight, and her eyes glow. She is also physically beautiful. Like Equality 7-2521, Liberty 5-3000 defies the will of the ruling council. She starts with a look, then a private signal, and then a forbidden conversation. When Equality 7-2521 escapes into the Uncharted Forest, she follows him there. Despite her rebellious ways toward the collective, she seems quite content to subordinate herself to Equality 7-2521. She takes on his name for her without question and seems set to bear him many children.

The Councils

The councils make up a collective identity that serves as the main antagonist in Equality 7-2521's society. While the councils comprise individual men and women, these individuals have no power to make decisions beyond the collective, so they must be considered as a whole. This lack of autonomy is the basis for their ineptitude: a consensus to take any sort of action is nearly impossible to reach. As Equality 7-2521 puts it, "their minds are shackled to the weakest and dullest among them." This is the key to their ultimate undoing.

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