Out of the Silent Planet Characters

C. S. Lewis

Out of the Silent Planet Characters

  • Elwin Ransom, an English professor who is kidnapped and taken to the planet of Malacandra.
  • Professor Weston, the villain, who kidnaps Ransom and offers him to the Sorns.
  • Devine, Professor Weston's accomplice, who helps Weston kidnap Ransom.
  • Hyoi, a member of the Hrossa race, who befriends Ransom and leads the hunting party that kills the hranka.
  • The Sorns, a race of fourteen-foot-tall aliens who order Weston and Devine to bring them another human.
  • The Pfifltriggi, a race of aliens known for crafting goods out of gold.
  • Oyarsa, a spirit creature who rules over the planet of Malacandra.
  • The hnakra, a sea monster with crocodile-like jaws.


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

At first Elwin Ransom, the protagonist, is a stock English character: a university don on a walking vacation. But early on, this unwilling hero's ethos becomes convincing as he keeps a pledge to a worried mother despite his reasonable unwillingness to look like a fool. In all of his responses, Ransom achieves psychological verisimilitude: terror at the discovery that he was in space; fear of sorns; near madness when alone on Malacandra; an ecstatic and unbearable curiosity in his first meeting with a hross; grief and guilt at the death of Hyoi; mortification at Weston's foolishness when he meets Oyarsa; sheer animal gladness at being back on earth. In all, he is a noble everyman, believable in his thoughts and actions, admirable in his growth.

The other two significant earthmen, Weston and Devine, are Ransom's antagonists whose depictions differ in degree in this novel. Devine is of secondary importance here, described as an old schoolmate of Ransom's whose involvement in the plans of Weston are motivated sheerly for profit. Oyarsa says of him that he is broken; he contains nothing but greed. On the other hand, Weston is far more complex, and, in Oyarsa's words, far more dangerous. His brilliance and ruthlessness are apparent in his first appearance in the novel when he helps Devine to kidnap Ransom. His characteristic rudeness marks every conversation he has in the novel.

The most telling self-revelation occurs in the scene in which Weston...

(The entire section is 458 words.)