Heartbreak House Characters

Characters Discussed (Great Characters in Literature)

Captain Shotover

Captain Shotover, the master of Heartbreak House. This eighty-eight-year-old eccentric retired sea captain is constantly cranky, impressively wise (a visionary), and generally drunk (three bottles of rum a day). Although a realist, Shotover has built his Sussex home in the form of a ship, strives to attain the seventh degree of concentration (perfect tranquillity), and spends much of his time experimenting with death-dealing inventions, especially dynamite. Shotover is a remnant of the culture and leisure that flourished in Europe, particularly England, before World War I.

Lady Ariadne (Addy) Utterword

Lady Ariadne (Addy) Utterword, Captain Shotover’s younger daughter, age forty-two. The wife of Sir Hastings Utterword, she is a handsome blonde who, although seemingly scatterbrained, is quite competent. On her return to Heartbreak House after an absence of twenty-three years, neither her father nor her sister recognizes her. As an alternative to the confusion she finds, Lady Utterword exudes a conservative prestige (implying the British Empire’s element of foreign rule) and is concerned only with horses and hunting.

Mrs. Hesione (Hessy) Hushabye

Mrs. Hesione (Hessy) Hushabye, the captain’s elder daughter, perhaps forty-four years old, the wife of Hector Hushabye. Dark and statuesque, Hesione is the epitome of domesticity, an exemplar of the power of a woman’s love and the authority in her home. She invites young Ellie Dunn to visit Heartbreak House so that she can discourage the ingenue from marrying Boss Mangan. At the end of the play, she is much less the paragon of domestic virtue, as boredom provokes her to anticipate and exult in the excitement and destruction.

Hector Hushabye

Hector Hushabye, Hesione’s husband, a dandy in his fifties. He is heroic but shy. A man capable of brave deeds, Hector, now tamed (domesticated) by his wife, refrains from action and resorts to concocting tales of high adventure. He reasons that people need to hear such stories so as still to believe in...

(The entire section is 865 words.)