Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Minna von Barnhelm

Minna von Barnhelm (MIH-nah fon BAHRN-hehlm), a charming and beautiful young heiress betrothed to a former Prussian officer, Major Tellheim. Hearing no word from him after the peace, she sets out resolutely with her maid Franziska to find the major. Stopping at an inn, the two women are given the quarters of Tellheim, whom the landlord has dispossessed for nonpayment of rent. Minna learns of Tellheim’s misfortune and, so that his pride will not stand in their way, she pretends to have lost her own fortune too. After many misunderstandings, word is received that Tellheim’s commission and property have been restored. The lovers are soon reconciled.

Major von Tellheim

Major von Tellheim (TEHL-him), a gallant and brave soldier recently discharged from the army, wounded and under shadow of suspicion for double dealing. As much as he loves Minna, he has purposely broken off communications with her to clear his good name, restore his health, and regain his fortune. Never one to accept charity, he rejects the repayment of a loan by the widow of a comrade-in-arms, the offer of financial help from his old sergeant, and the sympathy as well as the fortune of his fiancée. On the other hand, his own generosity, in advancing war taxes for a destitute principality and borrowing large funds for what he was led to believe...

(The entire section is 468 words.)