Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Maël (mah-EHL), a Breton missionary monk who, in ancient times, preached to a group of penguins living on an island at the North Pole. The penguins were baptized and turned into men, and the island was towed to a point off the Breton coast. Thus began a society that is the author’s satire of French history.


Kraken (krah-KAH[N]), a clever penguin who lives by his wits and turns to his advantage the ignorance and superstitions of the peasant penguins. By constructing an imitation dragon and “killing” it at an appropriate time, he wins the gratitude of the populace and thereafter accepts annual tribute from them.


Oberosia (oh-beh-ROH-zyah), Kraken’s mistress and the most beautiful of the penguin women. She appears as a virgin who conquers a dragon in order that Maël’s prophecy might be fulfilled. The “dragon” is one she and Kraken have fashioned. Oberosia is the island’s first and most important saint.

Eveline Clarence

Eveline Clarence (ehv-LEEN klah-REHNS), a beautiful, talented charmer who becomes a favorite at political social gatherings. She marries a rising politician and becomes the mistress of the prime minister. She lives a long, happy life and, when she dies,...

(The entire section is 557 words.)