Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Purlie Victorious Judson

Purlie Victorious Judson, the protagonist, an African American in his mid-or late thirties. Resentful of a beating received twenty years earlier from the owner of the cotton plantation where the play takes place, Purlie has become a preacher of the gospel, which for Purlie means freedom. Driven to acquire Big Bethel, an old barn that once was used as a church, Purlie will use any means necessary to obtain his goal. He uses a young woman to impersonate a dead cousin in order to obtain a $500 inheritance to purchase Big Bethel.

Lutiebelle Gussie Mae Jenkins

Lutiebelle Gussie Mae Jenkins, a young African American woman. Lutiebelle, from the backwoods of Alabama, has been a servant in a white household. Naïve, innocent, and good-hearted, she first met Purlie as a preacher and accompanied him back to the plantation. Purlie plans to have her impersonate the deceased Cousin Bee. Lutiebelle wishes to help Purlie, but her own desire is for a husband and family.

Missy Judson

Missy Judson, called Aunt Missy, is Purlie’s sister-in-law and the matriarch of the Judson clan. Missy, who is married to Purlie’s brother, Gitlow, sees obstacles in Purlie’s plans that he ignores, but she too is caught up in his dream of acquiring Big Bethel, which for her is also a symbol of African American freedom.

Gitlow Judson

Gitlow Judson, Purlie’s...

(The entire section is 488 words.)