Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Samuel (sah-mew-EHL), the Wandering Jew, who is condemned to wander undying through the centuries after he mocks Christ on the day of the Crucifixion. He invested for a friend a small sum of money, now grown into an enormous fortune, and his friend’s descendants are to claim the money on a certain day in 1832. After the last of these heirs dies, Samuel goes to a lonely spot where stands a cross on a hill. There, he gives thanks that his punishment is over at last.


Herodias (eh-roh-DYAHS), who demanded the head of John the Baptist on a charger. Also condemned to live through the centuries, she is driven by some power to the meeting place where the will is being read. There she temporarily foils a wicked Jesuit plot by producing a codicil to the will, suspending its execution for three months. At last, she joins Samuel by the cross and echoes his words.

Marius de Rennepont

Marius de Rennepont (mahr-YEWS deh rehn-POH[N]), Samuel’s friend in the seventeenth century, whose modest wealth, wisely invested by Samuel, results in the huge fortune his ill-fated descendants gather to share.


Rodin (roh-DA[N]), the secretary to the provincial of the Jesuits. His villainous scheming is responsible...

(The entire section is 570 words.)