Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Dolly Gallagher Levi

Dolly Gallagher Levi, a friend of Vandergelder’s late wife, living in a sort of impoverished elegance as a matchmaker. Of an uncertain age and possessing considerable charm, she also offers music lessons and physical therapy. A meddlesome busybody and fun-loving schemer, she would like New York to be more like Vienna, from which her late husband Ephraim had come. After skillfully pulling a number of strings, she finally gets her wish to become the second Mrs. Vandergelder, with the aim of using her husband’s money to spread joy in the world.

Horace Vandergelder

Horace Vandergelder, the merchant of Yonkers (the title of the 1938 version of this play), a wealthy sexagenarian, described as the most influential citizen of Yonkers—where, it is said, nothing ever happens. He is the president of the Hudson River Provision Dealers’ Recreational, Musical, and Burial Society. This irritable, vain, shrewd, foppish, complacent, mildly misanthropic, and rather curmudgeonly man is called Wolf-trap by his employees. Having been widowed, he is eager to remarry. At the end, he proves soft-hearted enough to facilitate three marriages, including his own.

Cornelius Hackl

Cornelius Hackl, the hardworking longtime chief clerk, thirty-three years old, in Vandergelder’s hay, feed, provision, and hardware business. An inhibited Presbyterian who never learned to dance, he closes the...

(The entire section is 548 words.)