Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 717
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, 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, 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, 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, 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, Ann’s younger sister. Ann keeps Rhoda and Tanner apart, lest Rhoda snare him.
Mrs. Whitefield, the mother of Ann and Rhoda. A faded, squeaking woman, she is the scapegoat for Ann’s willful actions.
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 (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, who resembles Mendoza. He is a moralist, a wit, a romantic, and a reformer.
Doña Ana de Ulloa
Doña Ana de Ulloa (AH-nah deh ew-LYOH-ah), who resembles Ann Whitefield. Ana personifies the female vessel through which the Life Force strives toward its ultimate goal, the Superman. Everything else must be subordinated to that end; thus woman, by her nature, must be a stealthy and cunning predator.
Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1008
The Devil is the suave and sophisticated host of Hell and the alter ego of Mendoza. The devil debates with Don Juan, insisting that it is not the Life Force that governs the earth but Death and that humans are essentially destructive beings, not creative ones. The Devil points out that the country where he holds the largest following is England.
One of the bandits, a Frenchman, who helps Mendoza waylay travelers to hold them for ransom.
See John Tanner
See The Devil
An American traveling in Europe who falls in love with and secretly marries Violet, since his father would disapprove of her social status. He is honorable but laughable because of his open-hearted good nature and because he does not know enough to be ‘‘ashamed of his nationality.’’ He shows his mettle when he announces himself ready to support his new wife, without his father’s financial assistance.
A Jewish Spaniard, a former waiter, and now leader of a band of vagabonds with an imposing ‘‘Mephistophelean affectation.’’ Mendoza has thrown his life away over a lost love, Louisa Straker. He is transposed into the Devil in the Don Juan in Hell scene. Mendoza bores his hostages to sleep with the terrible poetry he wrote to Louisa. Mendoza knows most of the main characters because he waited on them at the Savoy Hotel. Tanner befriends him and provides a viable alibi rather than turning him in to the police when they arrive.
Roebuck’s maiden sister takes a high hand with Violet, assuming her unmarried, and succeeds in offending her completely.
The quintessence of the well-to-do gentleman, Ramsden (‘‘Granny’’ to Ann) fancies himself a freethinker but is in fact a conservative. He dresses and acts impeccably, professes to want to help Violet, yet blunders into offending her with his assumptions about her marital status and the presumptuous way that he starts making decisions for her. Underneath the limitations imposed by society’s conventions, Roebuck is a kind person.
Ricky Ticky Tavy
See Octavius Robinson
Octavius, a rather simple and idealistic soul, suffers for his love of Ann, who merely toys with him and then throws him over for Jack. Tavy will probably never marry but will enshrine his brief moment with Ann on the altar of his heart.
Violet, Octavius’s sister, possesses a strong will and a firm step. Married and pregnant, she honors her new husband’s strange request to keep his name a secret from her friends to delay his father finding out that he has foiled the elder Malone’s plot to buy social advancement either for his son or his son’s new wife through marriage. Even though marriage to Violet would not show ‘‘a social profit’’ for anyone, she so charms Mr. Malone that he instantly accepts the marriage and blesses it with his love, and his money.
See Don Gonzalo Ulloa
See Don Gonzalo Ulloa
The modern Prometheus, Enry (or Henry without the dropped H), is a topnotch automobile mechanic with a penchant for fast cars. He has more competence, self-assurance, and wisdom than his employer Jack Tanner because Straker works for a living. It is Enry Straker who recognizes Ann’s pursuit of Jack. He also pulls the wool from Jack’s eyes about his own desire.
John, or Jack, would prefer to spend his days philosophizing about life rather than living it. He sees right through Ann’s manipulations but falls for her anyway. He fancies himself a revolutionary, working for social reform, and to this end has published the Revolutionist’s Handbook, the precepts of which are expounded to all who will listen by his alter ego and remote ancestor, Don Juan.
See Octavius Robinson
Don Juan Tenorio
Don Juan is the old philosopher who once was a lover and repents not of his acts but of the foolishness of his dreams. In Hell, he expounds his theory of the Life Force, and he longs to live for eternity contemplating reality.
Ana de Ulloa
At the age of seventy-seven, Ana dies and finds herself in Hell with the unexpected option of going to Heaven if she wants. She is the alter ego of Ann Whitefield, though at her age she now lacks Ann’s drive for the Life Force. She still remembers her young lover, Don Juan Tenorio, the brash man who wooed her and who killed her father in a duel over her honor.
Don Gonzalo Ulloa
A sincere and honorable man, the commander lived his life as a gentleman, doing what was expected of someone of his class, including facing Don Juan, an expert fencer, in a duel. When he dies of wounds inflicted by the younger man, he goes straight to heaven, but he spends much time in Hell, chatting amiably with his new friend, Don Juan. Heaven and its saccharine occupants bore the Don. Influenced by his young friend, he is reconsidering the values that guided his life on earth.
Ann is a huntress in the world of male and female relationships. Her instinct toward the Life Force drives her to seek a mate worthy of producing with her the new Superman. She is sophisticated, poised, and fully in command of the men who fall for her. When she breaks Octavius’s heart, it causes her no remorse. Tanner is a good match for her because he sees through her hypocrisy. According to Shaw ‘‘Every woman is not Ann, but Ann is Everywoman.’’
Ann’s mother does not have to play the matchmaker’s role with a daughter who seeks her own mate, but she tries to lend a hand. Mrs. Whitefield tells Tanner that she doesn’t care if Ann marries him, but when he asserts that he has no intentions along those lines, she slyly suggests that he’d be Ann’s match. Mrs. Whitefield cannot help working for the Life Force.
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