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Last Updated on September 5, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 400

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Peacock's novella Nightmare Abbey is a work of mock-Gothic literature that uses numerous Gothic tropes to poke fun at the prevailing trends in literature of the day. One of the ways Peacock accomplishes this is through a vast cast of bizarre characters with names evocative of their dispositions or philosophies.

Christopher Glowry

Christopher Glowry—referred to throughout the novella as Mr. Glowry—is one of the main characters and the father of Scythrop. He is a wealthy gentleman who lives in a rundown estate near the sea in England's countryside. He suffers from acute loneliness since the death of his wife, and he likes to surround himself with servants with morose names. Mr. Glowry also keeps a circle of bizarre acquaintances who share his melancholy disposition.

Scythrop Glowry

Scythrop Glowry is the son of Mr. Glowry; he is a young man who has bizarre, idiosyncratic tendencies. He becomes involved with two women at the same time (which ultimately ends in him losing both of them), and he also writes a treatise in which he expounds his ideas for recreating—and thus improving—humankind, which involves establishing the Illuminati. He eventually publishes these ideas, but very few copies are sold.

Mr. Toobad

Mr. Toobad is a melancholy man who holds a strange belief system. He is very morose about the state of the world and believes that there are two powers that rule: a good and an evil one. He imagines these two forces essentially as two opposing gods. He believes that, currently, the evil god is in power but also asserts that eventually this will end and goodness will rule again.

Marionetta O'Carroll

Marionetta O'Carroll is one of Scythrop's mistresses. She is the orphaned daughter of a close relative of the family, and she is very pretty and worldly: the picture of what Scythrop should desire in a spouse.

Celinda "Stella" Toobad

Stella was one of the seven people who read the pamphlet Scythrop published that explained his theories on rectifying humanity. When she eventually finds him and reveals this fact, Scythrop falls in love with her, appreciating her intellect and the conversations that they share. He keeps her presence at the abbey a secret—mostly to conceal her presence from Marionetta in order to carry out these simultaneous love affairs—but she is eventually discovered by the other inhabitants. It is at this point that Mr. Toobad recognizes her as his runaway daughter, Celinda.

Characters Discussed

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 447

Christopher Glowry

Christopher Glowry, the master of Nightmare Abbey, who is largely interested in eating and drinking. He is boorish and coarse. He refuses to allow his son to marry the woman of his choice, because she has no fortune. He finally changes his mind, but by that time it is too late; the young lady has discarded his son and accepted another proposal.

Scythrop Glowry

Scythrop Glowry, Christopher Glowry’s son, a gloomy, boorish, unmannerly young man. He has a rather morbid interest in dungeons, secret panels, and skulls. He falls in love with his cousin, but his father will not allow the marriage. Later, when he is not able to decide between two girls, the two young ladies both accept other men, and he is left to drink his wine alone. He is supposed to represent Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Marionetta Celestina O’Carroll

Marionetta Celestina O’Carroll, Glowry’s niece and Scythrop’s cousin. She is coquettish, and Scythrop falls in love with her. She has no fortune, however, and is allowed to remain in the house only as a guest. She finally accepts the proposal of a dandy named Listless.

Mr. Toobad

Mr. Toobad, Glowry’s friend. He and Glowry agree that his daughter would be a good match for Scythrop. He goes to London to bring her to Nightmare Abbey, but she discovers his purpose and disappears.

Celinda Toobad (Stella)

Celinda Toobad (Stella), Mr. Toobad’s daughter. She does not take kindly to having a husband chosen for her, and she runs away from her father when she learns that she is to marry Scythrop. She turns up later at Nightmare Abbey as a strange woman calling herself Stella and moves into a secret apartment constructed by Scythrop. She discusses German metaphysics and tragedy with Scythrop without knowing who he is. When he is slow in asking for her hand, she accepts Flosky’s proposal.


Listless, a bored and languid dandy, a friend and fellow collegian of Scythrop. He is a guest at Nightmare Abbey and is interested in Marionetta. He finally asks for her hand in marriage and is accepted.

Mr. Ferdinando Flosky

Mr. Ferdinando Flosky, a poet, another guest at the abbey. He is interested in the supernatural and in metaphysics. He proposes to and is accepted by Celinda. He is supposed to represent Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Mr. Cypress

Mr. Cypress, another visitor at Nightmare Abbey. He is supposed to represent Lord Byron.

Mr. Asterias

Mr. Asterias, another guest, an ichthyologist tracing rumors of a mermaid supposed to have been seen near the abbey.


Aquarius, his son.


Fatout, Listless’ French valet.


Raven, a servant at Nightmare Abbey.