Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Tracy Lord, a strikingly beautiful young woman of twenty-four, nicknamed “Red” by Dexter Haven because of her red hair. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College. Divorced from Dexter Haven, who criticized her as a virgin goddess, a married maiden, and the quintessential Type Philadelphiaensis, she could be the finest woman on earth, he claims, if she could overcome an intolerance against human frailty. She insists that she does not want to be worshiped but wants to be loved. Defending herself from Mike Connor’s prejudice, she argues that classes do not matter “except for the people in them” and that “there aren’t any rules about human beings.”
C. K. Dexter Haven
C. K. Dexter Haven, a twenty-eight-year-old formerly married, for ten months, to Tracy in an impulse marriage. He designs and races sailboats and plays polo. He drinks a bit too much and once slugged Tracy, who was a scold rather than a helpmate in their brief marriage. Urbane, witty, and with an honest if sarcastic outspokenness, he argues that occasional misdeeds are often as good for a person as the more persistent virtues. He is still in love with Tracy, thinks she is remarrying beneath her, and maneuvers to get her back. As an in-joke, he is named for the playwright’s friend, professor of English Dexter Haven of The Johns Hopkins University.
Macaulay (Mike) Connor
Macaulay (Mike) Connor, a...
(The entire section is 832 words.)
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Mike (Macauly) Connor
Mike Connor is the author of a novel and a collection of short stories. Yet because creative writing does not earn enough money, Mike is reduced to writing ‘‘cheap stuff for expensive magazines,’’ such as his present assignment to cover the Lord-Kittredge wedding.
Although he is initially hostile to the Lord family, his feelings soon change. He warms to Sandy, who joins forces with him in attacking Sidney Kidd, and he is attracted to Tracy’s charm and beauty. At play’s end, Mike even offers to marry Tracy, who gently but firmly rebuffs him. Although his future is left uncertain, it seems plain that Mike will leave his job at Destiny and perhaps become involved with Liz.
C.K. Dexter Haven
Dexter is a young, good-looking man. Wealthy and privileged, he has a passion for designing and racing yachts. He is still in love with his ex-wife, Tracy. At one point in the play, Dexter harshly attacks Tracy for her judgmental and unforgiving attitude when he was battling alcoholism, and criticizes her choice of Kittredge for a husband.
However, these attacks do not really resolve the unspoken question, which is never adequately addressed in the play: how abusive was Dexter to Tracy? Nonetheless, with some skillful targeting of his rival’s weak points, Dexter manages to get rid of his rival for Tracy’s affections; consequently, he proposes to her for a...
(The entire section is 1030 words.)