Kate is a doting mother and dedicated wife. She is enamored with everything to do with her sons even to a point of obsession. She can use her motherly authority to hurt as well as is seen in the case of Ann. She has been nursing a broken heart after losing her son Larry. But she refuses to accept his death as reality. She is also a victim of superstition and believes in miracles and fortune tellers.
She tries hard to convince everyone else of Larrys impending return. Another aspect of her character is her strength in adversity as she bears the burden of her husbands crime with a smile. She has kept the secret hidden deep inside her heart, in order to keep her family together.
A devoted family man Joes world is limited to his business and family. He is not greedy but very protective of his family. He never received modern schooling or education so can be a little narrow minded in his outlook.
The biggest sin that lingers on his conscience is the lie he told to escape a prison sentence. His misdemeanor caused his partner and his family to suffer. He also indirectly caused the death of his son Larry and twenty one other pilots in the War. Having said that he always believed he did that only to preserve the interest of his family.
-Chris (Surviving Son)
Chris is described as a man of lofty ideals and incorruptible character. He is a war hero who believes in helping others and renounces the material lusts of a consumerist world.
He is a grieving brother but has taken the role of a responsible son to his parents. He disapproves of his fathers profiteering during War but is happy to survive of the same money.
Even though he extols the virtues of honesty and truthfulness, he is found wanting of the same qualities at several places like when revealing about his and Anns relationship or when asked to send his father to prison etc.
-Larry (Dead Son)
Even though he is dead all throughout the actual plot, he plays a pivotal role in the story. He is more like his father than Chris, pragmatic and materialistic. He understands the notions of his father and the demands of protecting their family business. But in the end he comes as the moral anchor of the story when he commits suicide to pay the price for the sins of his father.
He is man of business who was convicted of profiteering during the War and sent to prison. He is a concerned family man and does not want his daughter to marry in to the Keller family.
Ann is a pretty and sensible young lady who has lived a life of loss and devastation. Experiencing the death of her sweetheart Larry and the conviction of her father Steve has created a big hole in her life.
She knows about the reason behind Larrys disappearance (the letter) but does not share it until the very end in order to protect the sentiments of his family. She is graceful in her posturing with Chris and finally accepts his proposal as she believes in his righteous conduct and values.
She is headstrong and strong-willed in dealing with a disgruntled Kate but never oversteps the mark or hurts her feelings.
George is a concerned son and brother. He is protective of his sister Ann and tries to save her from a painful marriage with Chris after learning of his fathers ill fate.
However, he is rational and does understand that his father had many priors and committed his fair share of other mistakes and misdemeanors.
He is also a bit impressionable as seen by his change of stances throughout the play.
-Jim and Sue Bayliss
Jim is man of values and believes in the call of duty. He is an accomplished doctor and wants to help others by finding new cures through the domain of medical research.
He shares his optimistic worldview with Chris, much to the discontent of his wife Sue. However, he is committed to ensuring that he discharges his duties and responsibilities as a family man too.
Sue is the wife of Dr, Bayliss, who supported her husband through medical school. However, she does not approve of her Jims penchant for research and helping find cures for the incurable as she does not find the pursuit monetarily practical. She blames Chris for brainwashing her husband to take up a career in research.
-Frank and Lydia Lubey
Frank is man of superstitions and believes in horoscopes. He is the main counsel to Kate and emboldens her obsession with Larrys return. He is married to Lydia.
She is the ex-girlfriend of George but eventually married Frank. She is good friends with Kate and a devoted to her husband and children.
He is a small boy who lives next to the Kellers. He is on friendly terms with Joe and often plays with him.