The character Dan is arguably the most restless and least satisfied in this quartet of lovers. When he first meets Alice, he is in a relationship with a woman named Ruth, who is discussed several times in the play but never seen. Despite this, he easily pursues his attraction to Alice and agrees when she suggests he play hooky. The next time we see Dan, he is a year and a half into his relationship with Alice and already shows signs of discontentment. In his first meeting with Anna, he becomes instantly attracted to her. His infatuation with him makes him careless and he hits on Anna when Alice is in the next room. His dissatisfaction is directly connected to his other defining trait: obsession. When he finally has Anna, he cannot get over her indiscretion with Larry. Furthermore, when Larry admits that he slept with Alice, Dan ruins his relationship with her by making her confess something he already knew. The play also hints that Dan has a difficult relationship with his parents. He is indifferent to his father, even when he dies, and Anna tells Larry that Dan cries for his mother when he sleeps. The play suggests a pattern of instability in all of Dan’s personal relationships.
Anna’s most definitive trait is a deep sense of melancholy. At the beginning of the play, she is separated from her husband. Despite her verbal rebuttals of Dan’s advances, she kisses him. When Larry first meets her, she is sitting alone in at the Aquarium on her birthday photographing strangers. Larry seems to understand her best; late in the play he tells Dan that she is a “depressive.” He thinks that Anna is unhappy and continues to make choices that hurt her as a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. He also tells her in the last scene not to become “a sad person” when he discovers she is living alone with a dog. Anna’s self-loathing makes her put up with abusive behavior because she thinks she deserves it. We find out that a past lover had been physically abusive and Larry degrades her in bed. Ironically, she is so guilt-ridden...
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