Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 400
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—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 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 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 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.