Ayn Rand is best characterized by Fyodor, who offered: “Take the soul of an enlightened Russian atheist and mix it with the soul of the prophet Jonah, who sulked for three days and nights in the belly of the whale.” You can take it from there.
Eddie Willers (Atlas Shrugged) interprets several roles from Dostoyevsky: the mercurial Ivan Karamazov in Act I, Raskolnikov’s guileless friend Razumihin in Act II, and the in Act II, and the smart, sensitive Kolya in Act III. He also plays his own doggedly loyal self in the John Galt monologues, which open each act. Atlas Shrugged, Part I the movie casts Eddie Willers along the lines of a yuppie house-negro, wholesomely good, self-sacrificing and fatally loyal to his boss-lady, Dagny Taggart, yet falling short on that essential virtue which might get him an invitation to Galt’s Gulch, its membership plan being invitation only.
Nathaniel ‘Nat’ Taggart (Atlas Shrugged) is the honored founder of Taggart Transcontinental Railroad, who is essential if sketchy backstory to the novel. He is the archetypal heroic man who triumphs in his own lifetime. The key to understanding this exceptional man is the legend of his having (allegedly) murdered a man, a Senator no less, who stood in the way of the construction of his rail line. The justification offered is strikingly similar to that of Raskolnikov (Crime and Punishment), who murdered the old pawn broker lady, because, (so it seemed to him at the time) she was an obstacle blocking the fulfillment of his destiny.
Prince Myshkin (The Idiot), is a fair-haired, blue-eyed epileptic in his late twenties who is innocent, naïve, impractical, compassionate, and immensely kind; to wit, the type of person Ayn despised.
Lebedev (The Idiot), Prince Myshkin’s landlord, is a bit of a wildcard: a widower; a drunkard with pretensions to become a lawyer. He is easily given over to telling stories of dubious veracity; renown for his interpretation of the Apocalypse of John.
Police Inspector Porfiry Petrovitch (Crime and Punishment), is in his mid fifties, his hair cut short with a large round head. He has a soft, rather snub-nosed face with a sickly pallor. He is stout even to corpulence. Although his father is a government official, his steady professional rise is due to a habit of careful diligence and a practical, logical approach which has, over time, resolved some otherwise intractable quandaries.
Wesley Mouch (Atlas Shrugged) is a glad-handing, back-stabbing bureaucratic climber; the proverbial second-hander. Mouch interprets Keller (The Idiot) who is noble, whereas Mouch is a cad who will avoid any confrontation. Keller, on the other hand, will stand as a second in a duel. Still, both are essentially enforcers for more powerful players.
Jonnie Dawes (Ideal) interprets Fyodor’s high-strung Hippolyte. (The Idiot). Both characters are rather live-wires fixated on the idea of winning the esteem of others through the unusually extreme personal sacrifice of a bullet through the head. Ayn allows that Jonnie succeeds whereas Fyodor spares Hippolyte.
Bertram Scudder (Atlas Shrugged) is a despicable lefty journalist who is not very inquisitive. He lives by the unexamined axiom that eating and drinking are the guiding principles of a man’s life. He interprets Fyodor’s
Radomski (The Idiot), a bothersome clerk. Francisco d’Anconia, Ragnar Danneskjöld, and John Galt (Atlas Shrugged), founding partners of Galt’s Gulch: The New Jerusalem. High up on the mountain we find the few whose names are written in Galt’s book of life, where there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away; while dogs, sorcerers and second-handers remain outside to suffer a second death. Ayn’s heros have long since escaped from the pages of her novel to fulfill their Nietzschean destiny through the lives of impressionable readers. As
Raskolnikov noted, ‘young people are particularly apt to fall into that snare’. The original trio make a guest appearance in Atilla Shrugged to proudly affirm the Galtian Oath.
Satan, the Destroyer, is forever cast as the scapegoat. Whatever character sketch we might propose, you will probably think us much the fool, for you’re apt to say we know him not at all; perhaps you are already much better acquainted. In any event, our Fallen Angel, like John Galt, feels himself at odds with the world as we find it. The difference is that while the Galtian destroyer is intent on stopping the motor of the world, the original Destroyer has admitted a more ambiguous ambition, (according to Fyodor, anyway) saying: “…I would give away all this super stellar life, all the ranks and honours, simply to be transformed into the soul of a merchant’s wife weighing eighteen stone and set candles at God’s shrine.” So possibly the Devil is a more complicated cipher than you had imagined, after all.