Themes and Characters

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe features a wide variety of characters, including kindly beavers, who talk and fish with fishing poles; good and evil trees; a sensitive giant; a half-goat and half-human Faun, who reads books such as Is Man a Myth?; a wicked witch; a noble lion; and four human children. The children are the major characters in the book, but the noble lion Aslan and the White Witch have important roles.

Lucy and Edmund are the most developed characters. Lucy, bright, resourceful, and adventurous, has a loving nature and remarkable honesty. On the other hand, her brother Edmund is a bully. A "spiteful" boy, he has learned to pick on younger children at school and enjoys humiliating Lucy. Even though he, like Lucy, visits Naria before the other children do, he lies about it to make Lucy appear crazy. He often feels, with no good reason, that others are neglecting him. Because he is selfish and longs for attention and power, he is easily made a servant of the White Witch, who bribes him with "enchanted Turkish Delight" and a promise that she will make him king of Naria.

However, Edmund is not totally evil; he justifies betraying his brother and sisters by convincing himself that, as newcomers to Narnia, they cannot be certain that the witch's reputation for evil is well earned. Once he witnesses the witch performing cruel deeds, he is horrified—and not for purely selfish reasons. Caught between good and evil, Edmund is the most interesting character because of his weaknesses and because he changes more than anyone else in the course of the novel. In many ways, Edmund is the most "human" of the characters because he is susceptible to temptation, deception, and power.

"This must be a simply enormous wardrobe!" thought Lucy, going still further in. . .
Peter, the eldest, is a sensible and athletic youngster who becomes a courageous warrior in defense of goodness and justice. Susan, like Lucy, is sensitive to the needs of others, but because she is aware of the possible dangers to the children, she is less adventurous than her younger sister. Although Susan hesitates to face great danger, all four children become involved in a war between the White Witch and...

(The entire section is 910 words.)