Santiago Shepherd boy, the protagonist of The Alchemist. He travels from Andalusia in southern Spain to the Egyptian pyramids in search of hidden treasure, learning life lessons along the way. Santiago is a dreamer and a seeker, and he stands for the dreamer and seeker in all of us.
Old Woman A fortune teller, and possibly a gypsy, she interprets Santiago’s recurring dream, but in a manner so straightforward that he finds it suspect and disappointing.
Melchizedek/King of Salem An anonymous old man who is in fact a powerful figure from the Old Testament, he explains to Santiago what a Personal Legend is and urges the shepherd boy to follow his dream. Aside from Santiago himself, Melchizedek is the most important character in The Alchemist.
Crystal Merchant A middle-aged resident of Tangier, he hires Santiago to work in his shop. The crystal merchant’s Personal Legend is to make a pilgrimage (or haj) to Mecca, but he knows he will never fulfill this dream. He is Santiago’s foil, a character who characterizes another by contrast.
Englishman A bookish pedant obsessed with alchemy who hopes to learn the fabled craft from a famous alchemist rumored to live at the Al-Fayoum oasis that lies between Tangier and the pyramids. In The Alchemist, the Englishman stands for the limits of book learning.
Camel Herder Once a prosperous farmer, his valuable orchards were wiped out by a flood, forcing him into a new line of work. He teaches Santiago the importance of living in the moment. He also represents the possibility of receiving wisdom from unlikely sources.
Alchemist The novel’s title character. An inordinately learned man, he lives at the oasis and can turn any metal into gold. The alchemist helps Santiago make the journey from the oasis to the Egyptian pyramids.
Fatima A beautiful Arab girl who lives at the oasis. Santiago discovers Fatima filling her water jug at one of the oasis’s wells, and he falls in love with her. She supports his quest, even though it will take him away from her. Fatima represents true love, selfless and unconditional.