Clyde Griffiths The weak but rebellious central character who aspires to wealth, luxury, and beauty — and is electrocuted for murder.
Elvira Griffiths Clyde’s mother, an evangelist who tries to save her son from the electric chair.
Asa Griffiths Clyde’s father, a poor evangelist, who is less effective than Elvira.
Esta Griffiths Clyde’s older sister who runs away with an actor and is left deserted and pregnant.
Oscar Hegglund A Green-Davidson bellhop who introduces Clyde to worldly delights.
Thomas Ratterer A friendly Green-Davidson bellhop who later helps Clyde get a job at the Union League Club in Chicago.
Hortense Briggs A Kansas City shop girl who coaxes Clyde to buy her things.
Willard Sparser Oscar Hegglund’s friend, a show-off and driver of a stolen car in which he, Clyde, and others have an accident.
Samuel Griffiths Clyde’s rich uncle who gives Clyde a job in his shirt and collar factory in Lycurgus, New York.
Gilbert Griffiths Clyde’s reseniful cousin who helps manage the factory in Lycurgus.
Myra Griffiths Clyde’s studious cousin who feels compassion for him.
Bella Griffiths Clyde’s socially active cousin who helps Clyde enter Lycurgus society.
Elizabeth Griffiths Clyde’s aunt who invites him to supper.
Walter Dillard A Lycurgus shop clerk who introduces Clyde to his friends.
Rita Diekerman A sensuous Lycurgus girl who is attracted to Clyde.
Roberta Alden A pretty factory girl with whom Clyde has an affair, whose pregnancy and demands of marriage compel Clyde to plot murder and to let her drown.
Sondra Finchley Clyde’s dream girl, a Lycurgus socialite; because of Sondra, Clyde plots to murder Roberta.
Titus Alden Roberta’s poverty-stricken father who seeks revenge for his daughter’s death.
Orrin Short A Lycurgus shop clerk from whom Clyde seeks information about an abortionist.
Dr. Glenn The hypocritical doctor who refuses Roberta an abortion.
Fred Heit The political coroner of Cataraqui County who first suspects that Roberta’s drowning was not accidental.
Orville W. Mason The vigorous district attorney of Cataraqui County who successfully prosecutes Clyde.
Burton Burleigh Mason’s assistant; he is convinced that Clyde is guilty of first degree murder, and he tampers with the evidence.
Alvin Belknap Clyde’s elegant defense lawyer who is retained by Samuel Griffiths.
Reuben Jephson Belknap’s shrewd law partner who concocts an unsuccessful defense for Clyde.
Miller Nicholson A condemned prisoner who advises Clyde and leaves him his books.
David Waltham The governor of New York who denies Clyde’s commutation of sentence.
The Reverend Duncan McMillan The kind and sincere young minister who gains Clyde’s confidence, believes that he has saved Clyde’s soul, but suffers remorse afterward.
Russell Griffiths Clyde’s look-alike nephew, adopted by Asa and Elvira Griffiths.