Themes and Characters
Farmer Giles of Ham is a fairy tale, with appropriate fairy tale themes and characters. Its characters are therefore stereotypes. The village of Ham is populated by the wise and learned parson, the gloomy blacksmith, the menacing miller, and a troop of fickle village folk. Far off is the pompous king, who speaks in first person plural (we, us, and our) and claims for himself everything that Giles wins from the dragon. Giles is the most human of the characters, a reluctant hero, a good and decent person blessed with a modicum of common sense, and he is a fierce protector of his possessions. He is thrust to the forefront as an unwilling hero, but because he is fundamentally good he is also blessed with luck and receives the help of those who are strong where he is weak. For example, the parson, the most educated man in the village, reads the inscriptions carved into the magic sword given Giles and identifies it as Caudimordax (commonly known as Tailbiter), the sword that all dragons fear. When Giles learns this news, his courage is redoubled as he marches off to do battle with the dragon.
The most memorable characters in the story, however, are the animals. Garm, Farmer Giles's dog, is a delightful characterization of man's best friend. He is a pastiche of conflicting emotions. In general, he is loyal to Giles, but on occasion he can be cowardly, only to turn vain and boastful at the very next moment. His memory is quite short; he is a creature of...
(The entire section is 1514 words.)
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