Emil Sinclair The youthful protagonist of the novel who, in the course of ten years, falls from childhood innocence, suffers great anguish in his search for self understanding, and finally achieves the awareness for which he has been striving.
Max Demian A youth several years older than Sinclair who acts as Emil's guide in his search for fulfillment. Demian's name parallels his function; he is Sinclair's daemon or inner spirit. His function and human superiority is further related to his first name, as it is possibly a shortened form of "maximus." Demian and his actions frequently cannot be rationally explained as he is the product of "magical thinking."
Frau Eva Demian's mother, also a product of "magical thinking." Appropriately named, she functions as a symbol for Eve, the universal mother. As Demian is leading Sinclair toward his goal, it is Frau Eva who actually is his goal. She is Sinclair's fulfillment, at least in a symbolic sense.
Pistorius A radical renegade theologian, who, in the absence of Demian, aids Emil in his inward journey by teaching him about various religions, instructing him in the art of meditation, and interpreting the meaning of his dreams. When he can be of no more service to Sinclair, he is cast aside by the former student.
Franz Kromer Young Sinclair's first link with the dark world, who, in effect, causes Sinclair to begin his quest for self-knowledge and the cementing of his friendship with Max Demian.
Knauer A fellow student at Emil's boarding school who looks to him for advice. In a certain aspect, he is reminiscent of an earlier Sinclair and, as such, illustrates Sinclair's development in the direction of Demian and Frau Eva.