Man and Superman Characters
by George Bernard Shaw

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Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

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Ann Whitefield

Ann Whitefield, a good-looking and vital young woman. At the urging of the Life Force, which is striving toward the eventual creation of the Superman, she is a liar, a coquette, a bully, and a hypocrite. She is also charming enough to get away with it all. Her flagrant violations of the romantic idea of the woman’s role in courtship enable her to entrap Jack Tanner.

John (Jack) Tanner

John (Jack) Tanner, a big, bearded, and wealthy young man with an Olympian manner but a saving sense of humor. Tanner is the dramatically unconventional author of The Revolutionist’s Handbook. With no illusions about Ann or any other woman, he wants to preserve his freedom from them all. Tanner tries to flee to a Muhammadan country where men are protected. Ann tracks him down and captures him in Spain. Realizing that all of Nature is conspiring against his independence, Tanner reluctantly submits to the marriage.

Octavius Robinson

Octavius Robinson, a young man who wants to write a great play. Handsome, sincere, romantic, and naïve, he is in love with Ann, who calls him “Ricky-ticky-tavy.” She pities him for idealizing women and predicts that he will remain a bachelor.

Violet Robinson

Violet Robinson, Octavius’ intelligent and exquisitely pretty sister. Violet is found to be pregnant. She finally reveals that she is secretly married, but she will not name her husband. Violet, as purposeful and predatory as Ann, is more direct in her methods.

Hector Malone, Junior

Hector Malone, Junior, an American gentleman of twenty-four. Manly and moral but romantic, Hector has married Violet, but at her insistence he does not acknowledge the marriage.

Hector Malone, Senior

Hector Malone, Senior, an Irishman who has made himself a billionaire in America. Violently prejudiced against the English middle class, he calls on Violet and threatens to disinherit his son if he marries her. When it is inadvertently revealed that they already are married, Violet charms and bullies Hector, Senior, into accepting her. Her husband dramatically gives up his inheritance, but Violet promises to make him change his mind.

Henry Straker

Henry Straker, Tanner’s chauffeur, a presentable young Cockney socialist who is afflicted with pride of class. Straker warns Tanner that Ann is after him.


Mendoza (mehn-DOH-zah), a tall, witty London Jew who had formerly been a waiter. Disappointed in his love for Straker’s sister Louisa, Mendoza has set up as leader of a troop of bandits who specialize in robbing motorists passing through the Spanish Sierras. He captures Tanner and Straker as they flee from Ann. Tanner takes a liking to Mendoza and tells the soldiers sent to capture the bandits that Mendoza’s men are his escorts.

Roebuck Ramsden

Roebuck Ramsden, an elderly gentleman who prides himself on his progressive ideas. He is appointed Ann’s guardian along with Jack Tanner, whom he detests.

Rhoda Whitefield

Rhoda Whitefield, Ann’s younger sister. Ann keeps Rhoda and Tanner apart, lest Rhoda snare him.

Mrs. Whitefield

Mrs. Whitefield, the mother of Ann and Rhoda. A faded, squeaking woman, she is the scapegoat for Ann’s willful actions.

Susan Ramsden

Susan Ramsden, Roebuck’s daughter, a hard-headed woman who represents the narrowest sort of conventionality.

Don Juan Tenorio

Don Juan Tenorio (hwahn teh-NOH-ryoh), the legendary lover. While Jack Tanner is Mendoza’s captive, he dreams of Don Juan in Hell. Don Juan, who is much like Tanner, is bored by the petty chatter of Hell’s society and decides to pursue the contemplative life in Heaven.

Don Gonzalo

Don Gonzalo (gohn-ZAH-loh), who is much like Roebuck Ramsden. In life, Don Gonzalo, a soldier, had been killed by Don Juan in a duel. He appears in the form of the marble statue that drags Don Giovanni to Hell at the end of Mozart’s opera. Bored with Heaven, Don Gonzalo takes up residence in Hell.

The Devil

The Devil, who resembles Mendoza. He is a moralist, a wit, a romantic, and a reformer.

Doña Ana de Ulloa

Doña Ana de...

(The entire section is 1,725 words.)