Part I of the book has only one main character, Christian, the Pilgrim. He appears in every scene and dominates them all. Other characters are those he chances to meet on his journey and with whom he talks for a longer or shorter time. Only two of them, Faithful and Hopeful, share any of his experiences.
Christian A poor, ragged man who flees from the wicked City of Destruction, convinced that God is about to blast it for its sins, and sets out on a pilgrimage to find the Celestial City, where his soul will be saved and he can live for all eternity in the company of God, and of the Heavenly Host.
Evangelist Preacher of the Holy Word, always eager to help those who are seriously concerned about the state of their souls and about finding the way to Heaven.
Obstinate Who accepts things as they are, resisting any change, and thinks anyone undertaking a pilgrimage like Christian's is a fool, out of his mind.
Pliant A well-intentioned man who decides to join Christian on his pilgrimage but, having little courage and less resolution, turns back at the first obstacle.
Mr. Worldly Wiseman Knows the world and has come to terms with it on a high moral level. A generous and sympathetic man, he obeys the Ten Commandments and lives in great esteem among his friends and neighbors. With his plausibility he almost seduces Christian in advising him to settle down in the village of Morality instead of going on toward the Celestial City.
Good-will Keeper of the Wicket Gate, entrance to the Holy Way, or "King's Highway," leading to the Celestial City on Mount Zion.
Interpreter The Holy Spirit which inhabits a large house that Christian visits and where he is shown many wonders and given a number of exhortations on the way he should go.
Three Shining Ones Angels who meet Christian at the Cross.
Formalist and Hypocrisy Formalist is one of those who knows all the outward forms of religion, but not the inner spirit. The Gospel is in his head, not in his heart. Hypocrisy is what his name implies, being all things to all men. Both Formalist and Hypocrisy come to a bad end at the foot of Difficulty Hill.
Discretion, Prudence, Piety, and Charity Virgins in charge of Palace Beautiful, where Christian rests for several days and is shown the "rarities" of the place.
Apollyon A foul fiend whom Christian encounters in the Valley of Humiliation. The monster has scales like a fish, wings like a dragon, feet like a bear, and a mouth like a lion. Out of a hole in his belly belch smoke and flame. Christian has a narrow escape from death when Apollyon attacks him.
Faithful A townsman from the City of Destruction whom Christian meets as he emerges from the Valley of the Shadow of Death. The two Pilgrims go along together until Faithful meets his death by execution at Vanity Fair.
Mr. Talkative One of those willing to discuss anything, often very sensibly, but never willing to do anything. "Good riddance," says Christian when Talkative decides to go his own way to salvation.
Lord Hate-good The judge who sentences Faithful to a frightful death at Vanity Fair.
Hopeful A refugee from Vanity Fair who joins Christian, and the two of them go on together all the way to the Celestial City.
By-ends From the wealthy town of Fair-speech, By-ends likes religion when it "goes in silver slippers," with the sun shining and the people applauding. By-ends is a nickname given to him by friends because of his knack in snatching every opportunity for profit that falls in his way.
Giant Despair Who surprises Christian and Hopeful while asleep in By-path Meadow, seizes them as trespassers, and throws them into the cellar dungeon in his stronghold, Doubting Castle. The prisoners are about to be killed by the giant when Christian suddenly remembers that he has a magic key that will open all the doors and gates of the castle, and they escape back to the Holy Way.
Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere Shepherds tending the flocks of the Lord on the heights of the Delectable Mountains. The shepherds are very helpful to the Pilgrims, giving them exact directions to the Celestial City and telling them what to avoid along the way.
Ignorance A "very brisk" lad who comes down a little crooked lane from the Country of Conceit and encounters Christian and Hopeful in the Holy Way. They think he is all wrong in his ideas, but he tells them to mind their own business. Trailing along behind, Ignorance makes it all the way to the gates of the Celestial City. But as he does not have the proper credentials, the "King" (God) has him thrown down a side pit into Hell.
Turn-away An apostate who has been seized by seven devils, tied with seven stout cords, and is being carried off to be tossed down the side mouth to Hell which Christian and Hopeful had been shown, to their great fright, in the Delectable Mountains.
Flatterer A "man black of flesh, but covered with a very light robe," who induces the two Pilgrims to follow him, leading them a circular course into a net from which there appears to be no means of escape. But a Shining One appears with a whipcord, cuts the net, and leads them back to the Holy Way.
Atheist Who laughs at the Pilgrims, telling them that he has made great search and there is no such place as the Celestial City, which greatly shocks Christian and Hopeful: "What! no Mount Zion!"
Christiana Christian's wife, who, regretting that she did not go with her husband in the first place, decides to follow him to the Celestial City, taking along her family: Matthew, James, Samuel, and Joseph. The latter, though referred to as "the children," must have been adolescents, for all get married along the way.
Mercy A "comely" young woman, a friend and neighbor, who joins Christiana on her pilgrimage; later, marries Matthew.
Great-heart A stalwart and well-armed Christian soldier, who is assigned by Interpreter to escort Christiana and her party to the Celestial Gate; he is a great giant-killer, and fond of giving religious advice and delivering sermonettes on almost any occasion.
Old Honest Though a native of the Town of Stupidity, he has seen the "Light" and joins Christiana's party; while argumentative and long-winded, he is one of Bunyan's more engaging characters.
Gaius "A very honorable disciple," who keeps a pleasant inn between the Valley of the Shadow of Death and Vanity Fair; it is he who, much to her surprise, tells Christiana of her husband's illustrious ancestry, going back to St. Peter, St. Paul, and other notables.
Mnason A native of the island of Cyprus, at whose house the Pilgrims stay while at Vanity Fair; his daughters Grace and Martha are married to Christiana's unwedded sons, Samuel and Joseph.
Feeble-mind A man of a "whitely look" who joins the Pilgrim party after being rescued from the hands of the giant Slay-good by Great-heart.
Ready-to-halt A badly crippled man who also joins the pilgrimage even though he has to hobble along painfully on crutches.
Mr. Despondency and his daughter Much-afraid Rescued from the dungeon in Doubting Castle when Great-heart leads an expedition to kill Giant Despair and tear down his castle; Despondency and Much-afraid join the pilgrimage and go on complaining to the end.
Valiant-for-truth Another Christian sword-bearer and great giant-killer who carries and mightily wields "a right Jerusalem blade"; talks a lot, too.
Stand-fast Who is met in the Enchanted Ground, kneeling on the path and imploring God for Christ's sake to save him from a "witch" who is determined to seduce him.
Madam Bubble "A tall comely dame," carrying a huge purse filled with gold; she is the witch, "a bold and impudent slut,"who tries to divert Stand-fast from his pious duty by offering him "her body, her purse, and her bed"; ashe is poor and very sleepy at the moment, Stand-fast is sorely tempted to embrace her.
Assorted Giants, Fiends, Monsters, etc. Grim, or Bloody-man, who emerges from a cave near Palace Beautiful and is beheaded by Great-heart;this giant symbolizes the civil authorities charged with enforcing the penal laws against Nonconform ists.
Giant Slay-good, slain by Great-heart because he is a general nuisance around Gaius inn and also acannibal
Maul, a giant who spoils young Pilgrims with sophistry (a symbol of the Roman Catholic Church), Greatheart stops all this by taking off the giant's head after a three round fight
An unnamed beast like nothing ever seen before a huge dragon with seven heads and ten horns (anothersymbol of the Roman Catholic Church) Great heart fails to kill him but inflicts such injuries that everyoneis certain the monster will die of his wounds.
Giant Despair, who is done in by Great heart and his friends in revenge for the indignities and crueltiesheaped upon Christian, Hopeful, and other Pilgrims.