Atlas Shrugged Character Analysis – Introduction
Atlas Shrugged follows Dagny Taggart as she works to save her family’s business, the Taggart Transcontinental railway. She finds herself constantly working against the government, which is rapidly nationalizing industry, including transportation.
Her brother, Jim Taggart, is corrupted by the government and actively works against Dagny in order to gain personal favor with the government.
The story is narrated by an anonymous third person narrator. This allows the audience to see the events of the story in a broader view than just Dagny’s. This is important to the story because Ayn Rand believed it was crucial for audiences to understand the negative sides of non-capitalist government as she experienced it in her own life.
Atlas Shrugged Characters
Who are the main characters in Atlas Shrugged?
- Protagonist— Dagny Taggart
- Antagonist— James (Jim) Taggart, the government
- Narrator— anonymous third person
Dagny Taggart – Protagonist
Dagny Taggart – Vice president of operations at Taggard Transcontinental. She is a strategic and intelligent manager of the railway and without negative outside influence, she could have seen wild success. Although she holds out from joining the strikers against the government because of a passionate love for her work, she eventually realizes that continuing to work for them makes her complicit in their domination over individuals. She gives in to the strike out of principle and works tirelessly to oppose oppression when she can no longer work tirelessly on her railway.
James (Jim) Taggart – Antagonist
James (Jim) Taggart – Dagny’s brother and president of Taggart Transcontinental. He is a businessman who gains success by manipulating the system rather than through hard work and innovation. He actively works to thwart Dagny’s efforts to keep their business alive, seeing it more fruitful for himself to work in alignment with the government.
Hank Rearden – A prolific steel baron whose ingenuity and passion for his work leads him to invent an exciting new material, Rearden metal. He serves as a romantic interest to Dagny for much of the novel because of their shared passion for innovation and hard work. Like Dagny, he has a hard time giving in the join the strikers because he is so motivated to continue working hard on his industrial accomplishments. In turn, like Dagny, he gives in and joins the strike when he realizes that his hard work is not serving him the way he believes it should be.
John Galt – The revolutionary organizer of the strike of the mind. He is the destroyer of industry, but he is also the inventor of revolution. He also serves as a love interest to Dagny because of his passionate resistance to all that threatens Dagny’s success and wellbeing. John Galt is brilliant, creative, and powerful and serves to symbolize what man is capable of when his intellectual freedoms are not restricted.
Francisco d’Anconia – A wealthy and successful industrialist in the copper industry. He is one of the first industrialists to join the strike of the mind and serves to recruit people to join John Galt’s movement. In the process, he loses Dagny as his lover, which frees her to be with Rearden. Francisco focuses heavily on recruiting Rearden, but it takes him some time to do so.
Eddie Willers – Dagny’s assistance. He winds up accidentally revealing key information to the destroyers of the railway.
Lillian Rearden – Hank Readern’s wife. Lillian despises her husband and actively works to destroy him by blackmailing him.
Ellis Wyatt – A successful oil industrialist. When the government starts to restrict his business with oppressive demands, he sets his oil fields on fire and disappears to join the strike of the mind. This creates the ever-burning field that is known as Wyatt’s Torch.
Dr. Robert Stadler
Dr. Robert Stadler – A brilliant scientist who allows himself to be won over by the oppressive government forces.
Ragnar Danneskjold – A pirate who works to steal from the government and return wealth to the producers.
Hugh Akston – A philosopher who joins the strike of the mind.
Wesley Mouch – A bureaucrat who becomes the nation’s economic dictator.
Orren Boyle – Competitor to Rearden Steel and owner of Associated Steel.
Cherryl Brooks – The idealistic young wife of Jim Taggart.
The Wet Nurse (Tony)
The Wet Nurse (Tony) – A young bureaucrat whose job is to watch over Rearden’s operations. His experiences lead him to join the strike.
Owen Kellogg – A talented employee of Taggart Transcontinental who retires early mysteriously (to join the strike).
Midas Mulligan – Successful banker who joins the strike.
Judge Narrangansett – A striker who is a proponent of free trade.
Dr. Floyd Ferris
Dr. Floyd Ferris – The head of the State Science Institute who leads the efforts to find and kill John Galt.
Mr. Thompson – Head of State.
Richard Halley – A composer who joins the strike.
Dan Conway – A railway owner who disappears during the troubles.
Ken Dannager – A coal producer who joins the strike.
Philip Rearden – Hank’s brother who criticizes Hank’s work but lives off of his successes.
- 1 Atlas Shrugged Character Analysis – Introduction
- 2 Atlas Shrugged Characters
- 3 Dagny Taggart – Protagonist
- 4 James (Jim) Taggart – Antagonist
- 5 Hank Rearden
- 6 John Galt
- 7 Francisco d’Anconia
- 8 Eddie Willers
- 9 Lillian Rearden
- 10 Ellis Wyatt
- 11 Dr. Robert Stadler
- 12 Ragnar Danneskjold
- 13 Hugh Akston
- 14 Wesley Mouch
- 15 Orren Boyle
- 16 Cherryl Brooks
- 17 The Wet Nurse (Tony)
- 18 Owen Kellogg
- 19 Midas Mulligan
- 20 Judge Narrangansett
- 21 Dr. Floyd Ferris
- 22 Mr. Thompson
- 23 Richard Halley
- 24 Dan Conway
- 25 Ken Dannager
- 26 Philip Rearden