- A street sweeper, the protagonist of the novella. Equality 7-2521,
who later renames himself Prometheus, believes in individualism
and rejects the collectivist society around him. He is vain and
self-centered, strong, beautiful, and intelligent. He is deeply curious
and desires freedom to explore and think, and he is unafraid of
the society of mindless drones around him. Equality 7-2521 represents
the superiority of a singular intellect to the homogeneity of the
masses, who cannot think for themselves and are indistinguishable
from one another.
in-depth analysis of Equality 7-2521.
The Golden One
- A beautiful peasant with whom Equality
7-2521 falls madly in love. The Golden One demonstrates
her subservience to Equality 7-2521 by allowing
him to change her name from Liberty 5-3000 to
the Golden One, and later, Gaea. The Golden One is proud and vain,
strong and bitter. She loves Equality
7-2521 because he is different from most
men around her. With him, she grapples with a desire to find the word
“I” in order to express her love for him. The Golden One is relatively
underdeveloped as a
character, functioning mostly as the object of
Equality 7-2521’s affection.
in-depth analysis of The Golden One.
The Transgressor of the Unspeakable Word
- A martyr for the word “I.” The Transgressor of the
Unspeakable Word suffers no pain as he is burned alive because he
knows the meaning of individualism. His death foreshadows the suffering
and exile of Equality 7-2521, and he represents
the way to die properly, in Rand’s view, for the cause of egoism.
- Equality 7-2521’s only friend. International 4-8818 views
Equality 7-2521 as a prophet. When he and
Equality 7-2521 discover the tunnel in which
Equality 7-2521 hides to write his journal
and make his discoveries, he is torn between loyalty to his friend
and his desire not to break the law. International 4-8818 represents
the citizen who secretly seeks his own meaning but is unable to
realize it because he cannot take the step of breaking with
- The leader of the World Council of Scholars. Collective 0-0009 is
shapeless and cowardly, like all members of the World Council. He
fears and hates Equality 7-2521 for breaking
the rules because he believes that only those decisions reached
by the council can be of value. Collective 0-0009
represents the thinking force behind the evil collectivism
of the city.