Characters Discussed (Great Characters in Literature)

Michael Marthraun

Michael Marthraun (MAR-thrown), a grasping and stingy man in late middle age who has the good fortune to own some peat bogs that will increase his modest fortune. Eager to squeeze every ounce of profit from his peat, Michael bitterly resists Sailor Mahan’s efforts to raise the price of hauling the peat to town, an act that would allow Mahan to pay his drivers a more respectable wage. Michael has recently remarried, but he resents his young wife, Lorna, especially when she dares to disagree with him and support the drivers’ pleas for higher wages. He is even more suspicious of the modern ways of his lovely daughter, Loreleen, whose short dresses, nylons, and cosmetics make her a disturbing presence in the parish. Michael is particularly bedeviled by the mysterious enchantments of the mythic rooster, or cock, a symbol of sexuality.

Sailor Mahan

Sailor Mahan (MAY-an), at one time a sailor but now the owner of a fleet of lorries (trucks). He is a middle-aged man whose experience in various seaports has made him less puritanical than Michael. Though more tolerant of Loreleen than are Marthraun and the priest, he is also a hypocrite and a lecher. When Loreleen desperately needs a loan to leave the parish, he arranges a meeting with her but uses the occasion to attempt to seduce her; she is given a reprieve by the intervention of an angry mob. Mahan is another person bedeviled by the appearances of the mysterious demoniac rooster.

The Mysterious Cock

The Mysterious Cock, a magical black rooster that appears and disappears somewhat capriciously. Representing the power of sexuality, he bothers and torments the puritanical men of the parish of Nyadnanave, causing them to hear strange sounds and see frightening sights, such as whiskey boiling and dishes being thrown about. His most important moment comes when he causes a tremendous wind in scene 3.

Lorna Marthraun

Lorna Marthraun, Michael’s pretty young wife. She is a woman of spirit who supports her stepdaughter, Loreleen, and finally rebels against Michael’s mean-spirited stinginess. Lorna apparently married Michael only because her paralytic sister, Julia, needed money for...

(The entire section is 944 words.)