Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Barnaby Rudge, the title character but a figure of lesser importance than a number of other personages in the novel. Born on the night of his father’s supposed murder, he is, in his twenties, half-witted, physically strong, and grotesque, almost unearthly, in appearance because of his shock of red hair. At the same time, his sensitivity to beauty, his near idolatry of Hugh, the hostler at the Maypole Inn, and his devotion to Grip, his tame, talking raven, reveal his simple, good nature. Pardoned after being arrested and condemned to death for rioting, he becomes his mother’s stay and comfort in later years.
Mrs. Rudge, his mother, whose life has been one of hardship and sorrow. Her efforts to support her mentally disordered son and to protect him from the tribulations that befall the weak-minded are rewarded after the riots, when she and Barnaby go to live at the restored Maypole Inn under the protection of kindhearted Joe Willet and his wife Dolly.
Rudge, a savage, violent man, the former steward at the Warren. He becomes a fugitive from justice after murdering his employer, Reuben Haredale, and a gardener, whose mutilated body is mistaken for Rudge’s. Returning twenty-two years later, he lives a life of skulking and crime, his identity known only to his wife. Recognized while taking part in anti-Catholic riots, he is sentenced to death and hanged....
(The entire section is 1221 words.)
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