Makepeace is a complex character who changes significantly throughout Caleb's Crossing. He is the son of a local pastor and the brother of the main character, Bethia. Makepeace is a very religious young man who aspires to study at Harvard University. Despite his lofty ambitions, he is not academically gifted and has great difficulty achieving his goals. Makepeace is relatively close to Bethia and their sister Solace towards the beginning of the story, but his character development creates a schism in the family.
Makepeace fears the pagan influence of Caleb and his culture and is highly opposed to his relationship with Bethia. In fact, Makepeace grows paranoid and begins to blame Caleb for many negative events that happen throughout the story. He grows bold in his own authority as a young man living within a Puritan society and abuses his position. Eventually, his cruelty escalates to the point where he beats Bethia and reports her for using profanity.
As the story continues, Makepeace eventually undergoes some degree of growth as a person. He demonstrates family loyalty and a desire to make amends by keeping Bethia's secret about Anne. While Makepeace is not explicitly described as a villain, he does fulfill the role of the antagonist at multiple points throughout Bethia's story.