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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 448


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Gargantua (gahr-GAHN-tew-ah), an affable prince, a giant—as an infant, more than two thousand ells of cloth are required to clothe him—who has many adventures. He travels over Europe and other parts of the world, fighting wars from which all prisoners are set free, straightening out disputes in other kingdoms, and helping his friends achieve their goals.


Pantagruel (PAHN-tah-grewl), Gargantua’s giant son, who once got an arm out of his swaddling clothes and ate the cow that was nursing him. Pantagruel was born when his father was four hundred years old. Accepting with good nature the responsibility of aiding the oppressed, he spends a good deal of his time traveling the earth with his companion Panurge. In their travels, they visit a land where all citizens have noses shaped like the ace of clubs and a country in which the people eat and drink nothing but air.


Panurge (PAHN-urzh), a beggar and Pantagruel’s companion, who knows sixty-three ways to make money and two hundred fourteen ways to spend it. He speaks twelve known and unknown tongues, but he does not know whether he should marry. Finally, he decides to consult the Oracle of the Sacred Bottle to find the answer to his question. The trip to the island of the Sacred Bottle is filled with adventures for Panurge and Pantagruel. The oracle, when finally consulted, utters one word, “trinc.” Panurge takes this pronouncement, translated as “drink,” to mean that he should marry.

Friar John of the Funnels

Friar John of the Funnels, a lecherous, lusty monk who fights well for Gargantua when the latter finds himself at war with King Picrochole of Lerne. To reward the friar for his gallantry, Gargantua orders workers to build the Abbey of Thélème, which has been...

(The entire section contains 448 words.)

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