Who are the characters in The Scarlet Pimpernel?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Baroness Emmuska Orczy, who was an aspiring artist who tried music and art before finding the medium of letters. After reading novels about the French Revolution, she wondered that she, herself an aristocrat, could not do the same. In only five weeks, then, she composed The Scarlet Pimpernel. However, it was not well received until she and her English husband Montague Maclean Barstow reconfigured it as a drama. After the play's success, the novel was later published. Furthermore, the baroness went on to write sixteen sequels.

In the Scarlet Pimpernel, there are some very intriguing characters:

  • Sir Percy Blakeney, the protagonist, is in truth the Scarlet Pimpernel, who smuggles French aristocrats out of revolutionary France. He does not fit the stereotype of an aristocrat. He is around thirty-two years old.

Tall, above the average, even for an Englishman, broad-shouldered and massively built, he would have been called unusually good-looking, but for a certain lazy expression in his deep-set blue eyes, and that perpetual inane laugh which seemed to disfigure his strong, clearly-cut mouth.

While Sir Percy's physical appearance is deceptive, he cleverly orchestrates many successful smugglings of French aristocrats out of the country.

  • Mr. Jellybean is the owner of the Dover inn, the Fisherman's Rest, where the Pimpernel and his fellow conspirators meet.
  • Sergeant Bibot is a guard, who is known for his ability to detect smuggled aristocrats. Although credited with capturing fifty aristocrats, Bibot's goal is to apprehend the Scarlet Pimpernel.
  • Marguerite St. Just / Lady Blakeney is famous for her beauty and charm. Many wonder why she has married Sir Percy, but Lady Blakeney knows his secret and is aware of Sir Percy's charms. Note how her description follows that of Sir Percy,

Tall, above the average with magnificent presence and regal figure, it is small wonder that even the Comtesse paused for a moment in involuntary admiration....She is ...scarcely five-and-twenty.

  • Chauvelin is the antagonist. The chief villain, Chauvelin is a French agent with English diplomacy. He comes to England as he follows Sir Percy's trail and hopes to entrap him through subterfuge involving Lady Blakeney that is to make Sir Percy believe that she has betrayed him.
  • Armand St. Just is the brother of Lady Blakeney. He is exploited by Chauvelin to blackmail his sister in an effort to get Sir Percy. St. Just also works closely with Sir Percy.
  • Sir Andrew Ffoulkes is a close friend of Sir Percy. He works closely with the Scarlet Pimpernel and Lady Blakeney comes to him when she learns that Percy is in grave danger of being arrested.
  • Comtesse de Tournay is rescued early in the narrative, but her husband is not. The Count de Tournay's rescue from France then dominates the main action of the plot. The Comtesse feels a certain antipathy toward Lady Blakeney because she believes that her family was destroyed by Lady Blakeney's report to the tribunal, a report that condemns the Marquis de St. Cyr, her father.
  • Lord Greenville is an Englishman who holds a ball where Lady Blakeney and Chauvelin plan to capture the Scarlet Pimpernel.
  • Degas is a trusted henchman of Chauvelin, always sent to gather soldiers to arrest the Pimpernel, but he consistently arrives too late.
  • Brogard is the owner of the Chat Gris (grey cat) Inn where Sir Percy and Chauvelin have their face-off.
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