Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 356
The characters in Castle Rackrent are as follows:
- Thady Quirk: the narrator of Castle Rackrent, Quirk is a loyal retainer to the many lords of the estate and observes them closely. He is dismayed by the dissolution of the estate. In the preface, Edgeworth describes him in the following way: "He was an illiterate old steward, whose partiality to the family in which he was bred and born must be obvious to the reader."
- Sir Patrick O'Shaughlin is the first lord who Thady serves. Sir Patrick is described as a lively and convivial person who constantly fills his house with guests, and he even makes the chicken house suitable for house guests. Thady is clearly fond of Sir Patrick.
- Sir Murtagh Rackrent: the heir of the estate after Sir Patrick, Sir Murtagh is described as a "skinflint." He and his wife do not fill their cellars or offer their tenants whiskey (a custom that was observed when tenants paid their rent). His wife is even cheaper than he is, and she keeps her table without spending any money. She knows where each and every tub of butter is located.
- Sir Kit: the next heir of the estate, Sir Kit, Sir Murtagh's younger brother, seems like a more convivial master, but he also runs into trouble. He marries a woman with a dark complexion who seems to be foreign, and Thady Quirk finds out that she is Jewish. Sir Kit locks this woman in her room for five years, makes merry with other women, and throws balls and parties. He hopes for her demise, but his wife outlives him after he is killed in a duel as a result of his rakish ways.
- Sir Condy (short for Sir Conally): the heir of the estate after Sir Kit, Sir Condy is a spendthrift who chooses to marry Isabella, a neighboring woman who has money, over Judy M'Quirk, Thady's niece. Sir Condy and his wife quickly fall into debt. Thady Quirk's son, an estate agent named Jason who has been studying the law, brings Sir Condy's debts to him. Jason hopes to acquire the estate, much to Thady's dismay.
Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 658
Thady Quirk, known as Honest Thady, Old Thady, and finally Poor Thady, the narrator of the story and a lifelong attendant to a procession of masters of Rackrent Castle in Ireland. Loyal and steadfast, he embodies all the qualities of the true Irish servant. Clothed in his heavy great cloak, he observes the world as he experiences it in terms of the differing characters of his several masters.
Sir Patrick Rackrent
Sir Patrick Rackrent, a lusty, generous landowner whose original family name was O’Shaughlin. He is convivial to a fault and friendly to all, and he dies singing while Thady himself is still a lad.
Sir Murtagh Rackrent
Sir Murtagh Rackrent, the heir. He is a close-fisted lawyer married to a widow of the Skinflint family. The two live on the tenants’ “duty” fowls and services so that the castle is almost free of expense on the part of Sir Murtagh. As Thady notes, it is lamentable that knowledge of the law permits Sir Murtagh to take land and property from other people. Sir Murtagh dies fittingly after hearing the cry of a banshee; actually, his death is a result of overstraining his voice in the law courts and in arguments with his wife, who strips the house after the death of her husband.
Sir Kit, Sir Murtagh’s younger brother. A warm and friendly person, he is kind to the tenants, yet he turns all Rackrent affairs over to an agent, an Irish “middleman” who is all servility to his master and tyrannical to every wretch beneath him. Sir Kit orders the castle renovated before he brings a Jewish bride from England, an heiress reputed to own many diamonds. She hates Castle Rackrent and the bog in front of it. Because she insists on her own dietary restrictions and refuses to give up any of her money, Sir Kit imprisons her in her room, where she remains for seven years. Rackrent is heavily mortgaged because of Sir Kit’s gambling debts, and he is finally killed in a duel after philandering extensively. His wife returns to England.
Sir Conally (Sir Condy)
Sir Conally (Sir Condy), a member of a remote branch of the family and Sir Kit’s successor. Educated at a college in Dublin, he had sat as a child at Thady’s knee and heard many family stories. He had also attended grammar school with Jason, Thady’s son, who had helped him with his learning. Sir Condy marries Isabella Moneygawl of Mount Juliet’s Town; her father cuts her off without money because he disapproves of her marriage. Deeply in debt, Sir Condy wins a seat in Parliament and so keeps from going to jail. His debts mount, and he leaves Castle Rackrent for the Lodge, Thady accompanying him. Here he holds his own wake with the friendly townspeople. His wife leaves him for her father’s home, but word comes that she has had an accident and is not expected to live. Poor Sir Condy dies bereft of everything.
Jason Quirk, Thady’s son, a lawyer who contrives to take over the Rackrent property by assuming its debts. He aspires to own all that has belonged to Sir Condy, especially when Lady Isabella Rackrent is expected to die also.
Isabella Rackrent, the attractive wife of Sir Condy. She leaves her husband when Castle Rackrent is up for auction. Badly injured in a carriage accident, she recovers and fights for her widow’s rights against Jason Quirk.
Judy Quirk, old Thady’s grandniece, admired by Sir Condy. Remaining loyal to the Rackrent family, she scorns Jason and his maneuvers and, as the wife of a huntsman, lives on at the Lodge in a manner proper to her station in life. Thady respects and loves her, partly because his own son now travels a different road from that followed by the loyal old retainer.
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