Dear Brutus

(Great Characters in Literature)

Characters Discussed

Will Dearth

Will Dearth, who in the drawing room is a shaky, watery-eyed relic of what was once a good man. An artist at one time, he and Alice Dearth had loved madly. In the woods, he is a successful artist and the father of a daughter named Margaret. He claims credit for all of his daughter’s charm, except her baby laugh; this she lost when he allowed her to lose perfect faith in him. Back in the drawing room, he grants that he is not the man he thought he was. The Dearths, probably the only ones to gain by their revelation, may be able to breast their way into the light.

Alice Dearth

Alice Dearth, Will’s wife. In the drawing room, she is a woman of fierce, smoldering desires. Hers is a dark but brave spirit, a kiss-or-kill personality. In the woods, she becomes a vagrant woman, a whimperer who warns Dearth to take good care of Margaret, for her kind is easily lost. Returned to the drawing room, she lies about what happened in the woods. Although she resents losing her might-have-been station as “the Honorable Mrs. Finch-Fallowe” and her husband’s contentment with a might-have-been daughter, Mrs. Dearth shares his present interest in painting. She will try for compatibility, despite her avowal that her husband will not get much help from her.


Margaret, who in the woods is a beautiful and bewitching young girl. Her knowledge that “they” will take Dearth away stands between her and Dearth, to cloud their joy.

Mabel Purdie

Mabel Purdie, in the drawing room a good companion for her philandering husband. Feigning other interests, she is apparently indifferent to his affair with a woman of their set. In the woods, she becomes a charmer who carries on passionately with her husband. Again in the drawing room, she sees her husband for what he is. Indifferent, she pledges to stay by him as long as she cares to bother.


(The entire section is 813 words.)