List of characters in Atlas Shrugged

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This is a list of characters in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged.


Major characters

The following are major characters from the novel.[1]

Dagny Taggart

Dagny Taggart is the protagonist of the novel. She is Vice-President in Charge of Operations for Taggart Transcontinental, under her brother, James Taggart. However, due to James' incompetence, it is Dagny who is actually responsible for all the workings of the railroad.

Dagny encounters three romantic relationships, each with a man of ability: Francisco d'Anconia, Hank Rearden, and John Galt. Galt marks the pinnacle of everything Dagny seeks in the world and is the kind of man alluded to in her youth, whom she imagines a man, standing off in the distance, at the end of a great set of railroad tracks, at the end of all her struggles.

The essential drama of Dagny's character is her struggle to reconcile the life she lives and the railroad which she loves, with the moral code of those who wish to destroy it. She believes they simply want to heap burdens upon her, for the sake of others, which she has the ability to carry. Like Hank, she believes they basically want to live, but are too stupid and incompetent to realize how their duties and altruistic projects impede that goal. It is not until she sees the man most important to her in the world - John Galt - strapped to a torture machine, about to be killed by the looters (who recognize, too, that he is the only man who can save them from economic collapse), that she realizes that the moral code of the looters is one of death: that they recognize what is good and necessary for life, but wish to destroy it anyway.

She is a typical Randian heroine, similar to Dominique Francon (The Fountainhead) or Kira Argounova (We the Living).

John Galt

The enigmatic John Galt is the primary male hero of Atlas Shrugged. He initially appears as an unnamed menial worker for Taggart Transcontinental who often dines with Eddie Willers in the employee's cafeteria. Eddie finds him very easy to talk to, and the unnamed worker leads him on so that Eddie reveals important information about Dagny Taggart and Taggart Transcontinental; only Eddie's side of each conversation is given in the novel. Eddie tells him which suppliers and contractors Dagny is most dependent on, and with remarkable consistency, those are the next men to disappear mysteriously. Later in the novel the reader discovers the true identity of this worker is John Galt.

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