Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Julian, a modest, shy, and benevolent Roman Catholic lay brother and personal secretary to the Cardinal. In his benevolence and his desire to serve, he is a victim of the Roman Catholic Church’s avarice. After having become disillusioned with other people’s images and uses of God, he loses his faith and commits himself to a mental institution for six years. By the beginning of the play, Julian is Brother Julian, the first lay secretary to a cardinal in church history. He is sent by the Cardinal to Miss Alice to work out the details of the $20 billion grant that the church is to receive from Miss Alice. After frequent meetings with Miss Alice, Julian consents to becoming married to her. After the wedding, he is left alone by all the other characters, including his supposed wife. He discovers that he did not really marry Miss Alice but rather Tiny Alice, the occupant of a miniature replica of the castle in which most of the play’s action takes place. Julian has to learn that Miss Alice is only the physical representation of Tiny Alice. He refuses to remain in the castle all alone as the trophy that Tiny Alice demanded for her large grant, desiring instead to return to a mental institution. In response, the Lawyer shoots him. Julian, bleeding to death beside the castle replica, becomes a Christlike figure in a crucifixion pose, thinking initially that he has been forsaken by God but then accepting the sacrifice asked of him and addressing...
(The entire section is 744 words.)
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Miss Alice is a young, beautiful, wealthy woman. She manifests several contradictions, for instance, vacillating between being flirtatious and being businesslike, or despising Lawyer but being his lover. She intends to donate billions to different charitable institutions such as Jewish organizations, hospitals, universities, and the Catholic Church. It is this gift that brings her in contact with Cardinal, and thus, Julian, his secretary. Though she seems to sincerely like Julian, she, along with the other members of her household, are plotting against him. She seduces and marries Julian in order to sacrifice him to Tiny Alice. Despite the affection she shows for him, she matter of factly leaves him when the time comes.
Butler is Miss Alice’s butler and her former lover. He claims to derive his name from his job, which gives him the function of serving the others. Butler demonstrates some empathy and liking for Julian. The two men seem to forge an immediate bond, and it is only with Butler that Julian shares the more complete story of why he went into the asylum.
Cardinal is a cardinal in the Catholic Church. Lawyer approaches him with Miss Alice’s gift, but the two men already are acquainted—and heartily dislike each other—through their boyhood school. As Lawyer asserts, Cardinal is pompous and full of self-importance. He is also a hypocrite, ‘‘selling’’...
(The entire section is 578 words.)