Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Dulness, the central character, introduced in the epic’s first lines. She is described as a goddess who is the daughter of Chaos and Night and who has ruled over the world and its inhabitants from the beginning of time. Enveloped in clouds, fog, and mist, which magnify her presence and obscure her face, Dulness is also continually surrounded by such allegorical figures as Fortitude, Temperance, and Prudence. In the first book, after surveying and appraising the numerous creators of dull writing, she finally anoints Tibbald as the king of her realm. Dulness, in the second book, presides over the games and contests held between rival booksellers, poets, publishers, and journalists, who all compete for her approval. Because no one can pass her final test—to stay awake while two authors read aloud—Dulness grants her favors to none. The past and future triumphs of Dulness are the subject of the third book, and in the fourth book, Dulness is depicted as a true deity. At the end of the epic, she reigns supreme over the sciences and universities as well as the arts and theatres.

Lewis Tibbald (Cibber)

Lewis Tibbald (Cibber), a character modeled on Lewis Theobald, a Shakespearean scholar who embarrassed Alexander Pope in 1726. He is introduced in the middle of the first book, when he is named King of Dulness by the goddess Dulness. In the fourth book, which Pope added to the original poem, Tibbald is replaced by...

(The entire section is 585 words.)