Siddhartha Characters

Characters are the skeleton of a story. They convey the authors’ ideas, beliefs, and relationships of the world as well as of the human beings around them. Major characters in Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse are interesting for the readers due to the depth of meanings they convey through their conversation and choices. Some of the major characters of Siddhartha have been discussed below.

Characters in Siddhartha

Character #1


Siddhartha is a restless soul in quest of wisdom and enlightenment. Despite having mastery over the Brahmin heritage, he was not satisfied with these explanations of the wisdom. Hence, he leaves home on his quest to find something higher, deeper and soul-satisfying. He also failed to accept interpretations or solutions from others. When the others were not siding him, he leaves them to seek enlightenment in a different place. Siddhartha displays the courage of his conviction and even dares argue with the chief of the Samadnas and contends with Gotama, the Buddha.

Siddhartha finds logical flaws in his teachings as he disagrees about sacrificing every pleasure to attain Nirvana. During his pursuit of enlightenment and wisdom, he exercises extreme patience and goes through a series of experiences that open his eyes toward life and human relations. When he leaves everyone, including Kamala, and his friend Govinda. Later, he starts spending time with the ferryman, Vasudeva. That marks the end of his search and he finds that life is a cycle and repeats all major events. He learns that wholeness brings the wisdom of life.

Character #2


Govinda is Siddhartha’s best friend. He follows him without any question. On the contrary to Siddhartha, who is full of questions, Govinda doesn’t question life or any situations. He believes that following Siddhartha would lead him to sainthood. Govinda chooses to stay back as a disciple to Gotama, the Buddha when Siddhartha leaves him. Hence, Govinda doesn’t think about the future or has a curiosity about finding the truth. However, when Siddhartha has met Nirvana, he immediately becomes his disciple. He believes he would transfer that enlightenment to him. Whereas Siddhartha is a leader and carver of paths, Govinda is an outright follower and is not such an innovative person. In the end, he thanks Siddhartha for changing his thinking toward enlightenment.

Character #3


Vasudeva is a ferryman, with the power of attraction. His silence pulls Siddhartha toward him as he displays what he has achieved from the river. Vasudeva’s powerful presence seems to transcend this worldly wisdom that impacts Siddhartha. His divine energy radiates through him. So, everybody who meets him admits his powerful influence. Despite this power and energy, he does not brag about his miraculous enlightenment. His main task other than ferrying passengers across the river is to absorb the wisdom from the waters of the river. Siddhartha senses that the serenity learns this to achieve his long pursuit of enlightenment. Siddhartha also achieves the wisdom from the river, Vasudeva encourages Siddhartha to have the determination and helps him to reach the final stage of enlightenment.

Character #4


Kamala is a prostitute by profession yet she attracts Siddhartha though her impulsive smile. She has a very powerful impact on him making him leave his ascetic lifestyle of self-control. Siddhartha is mesmerized with her beauty and pauses his search for enlightenment for love. Kamala is also responsible to make Siddhartha leave his family for her. However, it does not mean that she can exercise only her sensuousness. She also has a spiritual aspect of her character that leads her toward Buddha. She finally dies because of snakebite, in the hut of a boatman near the river. Despite her leaving this world, she leaves a sign of her love, her son, young Siddhartha named after his father, who reminds him of her love.

Character #5

Gotama Buddha

Gotama is a religious leader, the famous Buddha, with thousands of followers. He is commonly known as Gautama Buddha the founder of Buddhism. He attracts Siddhartha toward him on his search to Nirvana. Buddha carved out an eightfold path for his followers to achieve enlightenment through learning. Siddhartha and Govinda become his followers. Later, Siddhartha does not consider Gotama worthy of pursuit. He thinks that there is a world beyond his Nirvana. Siddhartha’s rejection is based on his assumption that his teaching does not necessarily make everybody attain the same Nirvana. Means, Gotama’s principle to abandon everything was not necessary.

Character #6


Kamaswami meets Siddhartha and teaches him the commercial tricks of doing business. He guides Siddhartha to live an urban life full of deceit and deception. Later, Siddhartha learns that the world of materialism introduced to him by Kamaswami is full of unhappiness and that money cannot buy happiness. These are just games that do not fulfill the necessary needs of life.

Character #7

Young Siddhartha

The young Siddhartha is Siddhartha’s son. He does not find compatibility with the enlightenment experience of his father. He not only resists with starting his life with his father. He doesn’t like having the same name and wants to return to his mother’s urban and materialistic lifestyle. However, Siddhartha, the father, asks his son to achieve the stage of enlightenment. Both the son and the father stay contrary to each other’s wishes. So, the young Siddhartha’s character and choices resemble more like his mother Kamala.

Character #8

Father of Siddhartha

Siddhartha’s father is a respectable person of his tribe in the Brahmin social fabric. He gives him a good education and makes him an expert in religious studies. However, Siddhartha’s keenness to look for the truth weighs on him. The father submits to Siddhartha’s increasing pressure. Finally, after disagreements, he allows Siddhartha to leave and visit the world and find answers to his question.

Character #9

The Samanas

The Samanas were a group of people who had sacrificed everything in the world to attain Nirvana. The practice self-denial and deprive themselves of all the earthly comforts and pleasures. They believe that self-control and self-actualization are achieved through deprivations.

Character #10


Anathapindika is a wealthy merchant and an obedient devotee of Gotama, the Buddha. He shows his devotion through a donation to Buddha. He also presents them with a beautiful place for Gotama and his disciples.