The Hamlet Characters
by William Faulkner

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The Hamlet Characters

The main characters in The Hamlet are members of the Varner and Snopes families. The Varners are the established families in town, and, when the action begins, the Snopeses are the newcomers.

Will Varner is the patriarch of the Varner clan. He hires Flem to work in his store as some insurance against Ab’s possible damages.

Eula Varner, Will’s daughter, is very attractive to men. Pregnant with another man’s baby, she marries Flem.

Jody Varner, Will’s son, is heir to his estate.

Ab Snopes is the patriarch of the Snopes clan. The first Snopes to arrive in Frenchman’s Bend, he has an unsavory reputation for burning farms. His son, Flem, goes to work for the Varner family.

Flem Snopes, Ab’s son, goes to work for the Varner family. He later marries Will’s daughter, Eula (even though he is not her child's father), because of Will’s wealth. He engages in unscrupulous deals having to do with horse trading and buried treasure on their farm.

Mink Snopes, after a dispute over cattle, murders Jack Houston. Convicted of the crime, he is sentenced to life in prison.

Hoake McCarron is a local man who has a sexual relationship with Eula. After she becomes pregnant with his child, he leaves town.

Henry Armstid, a poor and gullible but ambitious farmer, has a mental breakdown after getting fooled by Flem’s treasure scheme.

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Flem Snopes

Flem Snopes, a character who epitomizes an economic force that moved into the South shortly after the Civil War. Snopes is cunning, ruthless, cruel, and devoted to self-aggrandizement through the power that comes with owning property. His business ethics are an abomination; his contempt for the ignorant townspeople he cheats is complete. Flem Snopes, along with his many relatives, is a symbol of economic rape that Faulkner presents throughout the stories and novels he has written about a mythological Mississippi county.

Eula Varner

Eula Varner, a sexually precocious rural beauty who becomes Mrs. Flem Snopes after she becomes pregnant by one of three suitors who leave the region when her condition becomes known. Flem marries Eula, not out of compassion but because he is anxious to get established in the community, and she is the daughter of the hamlet’s wealthiest man.

Will Varner

Will Varner, Eula’s father, the leading citizen of Frenchman’s Bend and the town’s largest property owner.

Henry Armstid

Henry Armstid, a local farmer distinguished by his stupidity and bull-headedness. He is twice duped by Flem Snopes. He buys a worthless horse from him and later, with two other men, buys a piece of property on which Snopes has led them to believe buried treasure will be found. Armstid’s blind pride prevents him from learning anything from the crooked transactions. At last, disappointed because he finds no treasure on the property, he loses his mind.

V. K. Ratliff

V. K. Ratliff, a sewing-machine salesman who knows everything about everybody in the countryside. Flem Snopes bilks him out of some money by selling him and Armstid a worthless piece of property.

Ab Snopes

Ab Snopes, Flem’s father, a newcomer to the hamlet, who rents a farm from Will Varner. He is suspected...

(The entire section is 823 words.)