Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Dick Diver, a brilliant young psychiatrist who inspires confidence in everyone. As a young man, he met a woman who became a patient and whom he married. He devoted most of his time during the next several years to helping her regain a certain normality. In the process of helping his wife, he loses his own self-respect, alienates most of his friends, and drowns his brilliance in alcohol. His professional position deteriorates to that of a general practitioner in successively smaller towns across the United States.
Nicole Warren Diver
Nicole Warren Diver, Dick’s wife, a fabulously rich American. As a young girl, she had an incestuous relationship with her father and subsequently suffered a mental breakdown. She marries Dick while still a patient and is content to let him guide her in all things for several years. When he begins to drink heavily and make scenes in public, she tries to stop him; in doing so, she begins to gain some moral strength of her own. In a short time, she no longer needs Dick, has a brief affair, and divorces Dick to marry her lover. Apparently aware of her part in Dick’s downfall, she continues to be somewhat concerned for him.
Rosemary Hoyt, a beautiful young American film actress. Having fallen in love with Dick, who is several years her senior, on their first meeting, she later has a brief affair with him. When she finally recognizes...
(The entire section is 635 words.)
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Themes / Characters
Tender Is the Night is the story of a man's gradual deterioration and collapse. Dick Diver is a brilliant young psychiatrist when the novel opens, married to a woman who was one of his patients. Their relationship resembles Fitzgerald's and Zelda's, as Diver is both lover and protector to Nicole Warren. Diver is also trapped by the Warren wealth, using their resources to become a partner in a Swiss clinic and unable to avoid the temptations of an extravagant social calendar which is forcing him to neglect his research. He is eventually driven out of his position at the clinic when he loses interest in his profession and turns to alcohol for diversion and surcease. When Nicole leaves Diver for a glamorous European soldier of fortune, he tries to resume his career in America but fades into oblivion as a small-town doctor.
Although Fitzgerald several times protested that the novel should not be judged simply a picture of "Americans abroad," the characters do represent recognizable American "types." Nicole and Dick (while surely based somewhat on the Murphys, with what Andrew Turnbull calls "their organized sensuousness, their fine gradations of charm") clearly represent the author and Zelda — the mention of which, implying a weakness of imagination causing an excessive dependence on simply observed behavior, pained Fitzgerald considerably. Yet, these two essentially idle persons could well stand for a number of American expatriates in Europe in the...
(The entire section is 650 words.)
Half-American, half-European, Tommy Barban is a mercenary soldier with few refined qualities. Without the social or cultural sophistication of the Divers or their other friends, Barban relies on his decisiveness and self-confidence to get by. Barban is introduced as one of Dick and Nicole Divers’ devout friends. In fact, early on, Barban even fights a duel to defend the honor of the Divers. As the plot develops, however, it becomes clear that Barban loves Nicole, and by the end of novel he has successfully taken her away from Dick. He is portrayed by Fitzgerald as a man who knows what he wants, and when it comes time to take Nicole, he does so decisively and without qualms.
Luis Campion is the effeminate friend of the McKiscos who informs Rosemary Hoyt, at 3 a.m., of the duel that is about to take place between Albert McKisco and Tommy Barbaran.
A character noted only in passing, Prince Chillicheff is the Russian prince whom Tommy Barban rescues from Russia.
Collis Clay is a young graduate of Yale and an acquaintance of Rosemary. He tells Dick stories about Rosemary’s past, which sends Dick into fits of sexual jealousy. Clay is also with Dick the night Dick gets drunk and ends up in prison.
The protagonist of the novel, Dick Diver is a complex, handsome, and brilliant up-and-coming...
(The entire section is 1827 words.)