The Pilgrim's Progress Characters

John Bunyan

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Christian, an example of all God-fearing Protestants, whose adventures are recounted as events in a dream experienced by the narrator. Originally called Graceless, of the race of Japhet, Christian becomes distressed with his life in the City of Destruction and insists that his wife and four children accompany him in search of salvation. When they refuse to leave, Christian determines to set out alone. Henceforth his life story consists of hardships, sufferings, and struggles to overcome obstacles—physical, human, and emotional—that beset his path. At the outset, Christian’s family and neighbors, Pliable and Obstinate, try to dissuade him from breaking away from his sins of the past. Then Evangelist appears with a parchment roll on which is inscribed, “Fly from the Wrath to Come.” On his long journey, Christian finds that human beings he meets offer distractions and hindrance, even bodily harm and violence. Mr. Worldly Wiseman turns him aside from his set purpose until Evangelist intervenes. Simple, Sloth, Presumption, Formalist, Hypocrisy, Timorous, and Mistrust seek to dissuade or discourage Christian because of the rigors of the straight and narrow way. The Giant of the Doubting Castle and his wife beat and torture Christian and Hopeful. In the Valley of Humiliation, Christian engages in mortal combat with a monstrous creature named Apollyon for more than half a day but at last emerges triumphant. In many times of peril, Christian is fortunate in having companions who can assist him: Evangelist, who gets him out of difficulties or warns him of impending strife; Help, who assists him to get out of the Slough of Despond; Faithful, who is by his side at Vanity Fair; Hopeful, who comforts him at Doubting Castle and encourages him to give up bravely at the River of Death. In this narrative of a pilgrim’s adventures,...

(The entire section is 757 words.)

Themes and Characters

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The characters in The Pilgrim's Progress fall into different categories, suggestive of the themes in the work. The first category is...

(The entire section is 665 words.)