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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 625

The Bishop
The Bishop is concerned about Merrick’s religious instruction and offers spiritual guidance. He genuinely believes in doing his Christian duty, but he also appears to forget that Merrick has needs beyond those of religion.

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The Conductor believes that Merrick is an imbecile. When they arrive in London, he gets help from a policeman to protect Merrick.

The Countess is one of Merrick’s visitors.

The Duchess is one of Merrick’s many visitors who brings him Christmas gifts.

Carr Gomm
Gomm is the administrator of the London Hospital where Merrick is housed. His care of Merrick always appears to be self-serving. When Merrick dies, Gomm writes the final epitaph for Merrick and decides to donate the money for Merrick’s care to the hospital.

Walsham How
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Lord John
Lord John is involved in some shady financial dealings. When a great deal of money is lost, it is implied that John will be leaving town quickly.

Mrs. Kendal
An actress, Mrs. Kendal visits Merrick in order to provide some normal social interaction for him. She is not repulsed by Merrick’s appearance. Finding him to be charming and intelligent, she decides to introduce him to society. She visits him frequently and becomes an important part of his life.

When he tells her that he has never seen a naked woman, she removes her clothes. Treves enters and is so outraged that he throws Mrs. Kendal out of the room—and out of Merrick’s life.

John Merrick
Merrick suffers from Proteus Syndrome, which has resulted in large, bulbous growths growing from his skull. To explain his nickname, ‘‘The Elephant Man,’’ he tells Treves that his mother was beautiful, but she was kicked by an elephant when she was pregnant.

Placed in a workhouse when he was three, he had been part of a freak show for many years. He brings in a lot of money for his ‘‘handler,’’ Ross, but then Ross also steals from him. He is incredibly lonely.

After Treves finds Merrick, he is taken to the London Hospital where he is studied and sheltered. While in the hospital, Merrick begins to draw and read, and ultimately he constructs a model of St. Phillip’s Church.

Merrick is intelligent and funny, with a normal interest in women. When he tells Mrs. Kendal that he has never seen a normal woman’s body,...

(The entire section contains 625 words.)

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Critical Essays