There is in a sense only one fully realized character in The Green Man, and that is the narrator. Since he tells the story, the reader tends naturally to side with him, amused by his repeated furies over careless staff, boring conversations, and tedious television programs. Events, though, start to turn against Allington quite soon, and especially over sexuality. Allington is highly sexed, by reputation and in fact, and early in the novel succeeds in seducing Diana Maybury, his doctor’s wife, a woman he quite clearly despises. The reader may go along with his own feelings of delight and triumph on this occasion; but doubts begin to surface as Allington goes straight on from this success to try to organize an “orgy” involving himself, his wife, and Diana simultaneously, and perhaps with even more force as the reader comes to realize that Allington has no insight into Diana’s psychology at all. She hates her husband; everybody else remarks that this is obvious, yet Allington has never noticed. He is very good, in short, at persuading other people, very bad at observing them. Although he appears sympathetic, is he not in fact a cynical manipulator?
If so, that may be one reason why the evil Underhill has decided to exert pressure on him rather than on any previous owner of the house. Underhill’s psychology is revealed through a diary which Allington locates and reads in a college library at Cambridge University, and it is based first on a...
(The entire section is 562 words.)