Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Winnie, a woman described in the play as “well preserved” and “plump,” with a “big bosom.” She is about fifty years of age. In the first act, she is buried up to her waist in earth. By the opening of the second act, she has been sucked, or sunk, downward so that only her head is visible. Winnie can best be characterized by her abundant optimism, which lies in sharp contrast to her desolate situation. Such an attitude to life is both courageous, because Winnie keeps her spirits high, and tragic, in that she is in an impossible situation. Consistent with her desire to appear cheerful, Winnie takes great pride in her personal possessions. Each one is endowed with a special meaning, even Brownie, the revolver she keeps in her bag. Winnie delights in seemingly banal conversation that helps her through the day, from the bell that wakes her to the bell for sleep. Following in a set pattern, almost like a ritual, Winnie cleans her teeth and glasses, applies lipstick, brushes and combs her hair, perhaps trims her nails if necessary, and then talks to her husband, Willie, who is beside her. Consequently, Winnie’s language is vital as she clings to her words and memories, which, especially in the second act, are almost the only things left for her. Despite Winnie’s attempts at remaining optimistic, many of the quotations that occur throughout her long monologue betray sadness and regret. This is most apparent in her singing of the Waltz...

(The entire section is 412 words.)