(Great Characters in Literature)

Characters Discussed

Trilby O’Ferrall

Trilby O’Ferrall, a Scotch-Irish artist’s model. Very tall, well developed, and graceful, she lacks classical beauty, having freckles, a large mouth, and eyes set too wide apart, but she has a simple, amiable charm and astonishingly beautiful feet. She sings wretchedly except when hypnotized by Svengali, under whose spell she comes after going out of Little Billee’s life. Traveling with Svengali as his wife, she attains fame as a singer. After his death, she wastes away and dies.


Svengali (svehn-GAH-lee), a middle-aged Jewish musician from Austria, tall and bony, with long, heavy black hair; brilliant black eyes; a thin, sallow face; and black beard and mustache. Conceited, derisive, and malicious, he alternately bullies and fawns in a harsh, croaking voice. He is a dedicated and expert player of popular and light classical music. Although Trilby is repelled at first by his greasy, dirty appearance and regards him as a spidery demon or incubus, she becomes completely his creature under his hypnosis.

Talbot “Taffy” Wynne

Talbot “Taffy” Wynne, an art student and former soldier, a Yorkshireman, handsome, fair, blue-eyed, big, and brawny. He wears a heavy mustache and drooping auburn whiskers.

Sandy McAllister

Sandy McAllister, called “The Laird of Cockpen,” another art student,...

(The entire section is 438 words.)