The Freedom of the City Characters

Brian Friel

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Michael Joseph Hegarty

Michael Joseph Hegarty, an unemployed young man who is engaged to be married and has plans for an education and a career. Twenty-two years old and of average looks and build, he is serious, even humorless. A very proper man, he has a staunch belief in the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland and fears its contamination by radicals and troublemakers. He trusts the British military forces not to use violence without provocation.

Elizabeth (Lily) Doherty

Elizabeth (Lily) Doherty, a cleaning woman, wife of a disabled worker, and mother of eleven children. She is physically worn but still shows traces of her youthful good looks. At the age of forty-three, she is sensible but still imaginative, and she joins Skinner in joking and play-acting when they take refuge in the mayor’s parlor of the Guildhall. Her squalid life of overcrowded poverty is revealed in contrast with the opulence of the mayor’s rooms.

Adrian Casimir Fitzgerald

Adrian Casimir Fitzgerald, called Skinner, a restless, keen-witted young man who has no home and often is in trouble with the police. Twenty-one years old and of very lean build, Skinner is the first to realize where they are when he, Lily, and Michael run for shelter. He is also the one who correctly assesses the situation and knows that the military will react violently. Although seemingly irreverent and careless, he is highly...

(The entire section is 484 words.)