Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 320
Despite being just over one hundred pages in length, C. S. Lewis's The Great Divorce is jam-packed with a variety of major and minor characters.
The narrator of The Great Divorce is never named, and that fits with the rest of his characterization. Readers get very little information about the narrator. We don't get background information, nor do we get much information regarding his personality. This sounds like a terribly boring character, but it works because it presents the narrator as a sort of "everyman." He is as relatable and ordinary as possible in order to get as many readers as possible to relate to him.
George MacDonald was an actual historical figure, and the character based on him plays the same part in the book as the real MacDonald did in life. He is a well-known author of children's books. In The Great Divorce, he functions as the narrator's guide and discussion partner and teaches the narrator that some facets of Christianity are beyond basic human understanding.
Ikey is the man who explains the Grey Town to readers and the narrator. He is not a likable character, but that's the point. He is meant to show mankind's materialistic tendencies.
Sir Archibald represents scientists and humanity's obsession with searching for knowledge. As with other characters, that isn't necessarily a positive association. Lewis is pointing out that so much time spent trying to gain knowledge takes away time spent worshipping God.
Frank is introduced late in the novel and actually constitutes three characters. In life, Frank found ways to make people feel sorry for him in order to get them to do things for him. In the afterlife, Frank is a dwarf and a tragedian, and each represents two aspects of Frank's former life. The Dwarf is his inner self-loathing, and the Tragedian is his outward persona that he used to manipulate people.
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