Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
The Old Man
The Old Man, who may or may not be the ne’er-do-well father of Eddie and May by different mothers. Of indeterminate age, he is not a living character and exists only in the minds of Eddie and May, who communicate directly with him at their discretion. The Old Man, dressed in Western clothing, complete with Stetson hat, sits in a rocking chair throughout the play and sips whiskey that he pours from a bottle into a Styrofoam cup. He claims to be married to country singer Barbara Mandrell and stares at what he says is her picture on an empty wall in the rundown motel where all the action takes place. The patriarch does not seem to like his children very much; he says of them, “I don’t recognize myself in either one a’ you. . . . You could be anybody’s. Probably are.” He is a specterlike figure, a kind of perverse Greek chorus who argues with Eddie and May until the end, when they leave and he is left alone, staring at the empty wall. It is possible that he is the only real individual and has invented the whole episode, with the other characters being figments of his imagination.
Eddie, an ornery rodeo stuntman in his late thirties. He is dressed in his working clothes, and his smell indicates his need of a bath. The cowboy is the former lover and half brother of May. Eddie is obsessed with May. To find her, he has traveled 2,480 miles with his pickup truck and horse trailer. For fifteen...
(The entire section is 654 words.)
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Eddie is a cowboy-type in his late thirties. He is the older half-brother of May, with whom he has had an on-again/off-again love affair for fifteen years. Eddie is a liar and unreliable. He has appeared out of nowhere, claiming to have traveled several thousand miles to see May. From the first, May accuses him of having an affair with a rich woman, which Eddie denies. Throughout the course of Fool for Love, May’s suspicions prove correct as the rich woman shoots out Eddie’s windshield, sets fire to his truck, and frees his horses. Eddie also promises to not tell Martin, a man with whom May has a date, that they are brother and sister, but Eddie does anyway. He also tells Martin about his odd relationship with his half-sister. Eddie also has a violent streak, and threatens May physically several times. He tries to control May physically and emotionally, but she does not give in. May allows Eddie to pull her down at one point, but she ultimately rises above his pettiness. Though Eddie claims to want May throughout the play, at the end, he leaves without her.
Martin is May’s date for the evening. He works as a gardener and day laborer. When he first arrives, May’s room is dark and she is screaming. Martin takes action, pulling Eddie off May and slamming him against the wall. When May tells Martin that Eddie is her cousin and there was nothing wrong, Martin apologizes. May has...
(The entire section is 596 words.)