Characters

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Louis Creed, the human catalyst in Pet Sematary's horror formula, is a man of science. His rational skepticism (even in the latter stages of the novel, while totally committed to a pattern of irrational horror, he persists in using such terms as "experiment" and "diagnosis" to describe his actions) provides a continuous, symbolically effective counterpoint to the dark, primal power of the Micmac Burying Ground. He bears, however, only superficial resemblance to his distinguished literary ancestors, Johann Faustus and Victor Frankenstein, and none whatsoever to the familiar "mad scientist" of low budget films. The arrogance and lust for power which drive these men of science to their ultimate blasphemies are not a part of Louis Creed's character: His crime is that of one who, like Shakespeare's Othello, "loved not wisely, but too well." That love itself, perhaps the purest of human emotions, can prove the pretext for unspeakable horror is a paradox King has explored on more than one occasion, and it is certainly one of the keys to interpreting both Louis Creed and the novel as a whole.

The novel is rich in secondary characters, many of them both central to plot development and fascinating in their own right. The author's remarkable ability to create memorable children is well evident in his portrayal of Ellie and Gage Creed, and Irwin Goldman, Louis's intransigent father-in-law, is one of the most successfully conceived minor characters in all of King's fiction. Most interesting of all, however, is Jud Crandall, Louis Creed's octogenarian neighbor whose complex functions in the narrative include both that of confidant and foil.

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