Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Popeye, a cruel, passionless killer who is symbolic of the ruthless, sterile, and materialistic exploitation that destroyed the antebellum social order of the South. Ironically, he is executed for a murder he did not commit.

Temple Drake

Temple Drake, a college girl of good family who is attacked by Popeye and then sent to live the life of a prostitute in a bawdy house in Memphis. Her family removes her from the house of ill repute, but her life has been ruined.

Lee Goodwin

Lee Goodwin, a moonshiner who tries to protect Temple from a group of bootleggers and who is accused of murdering Tommy, a gang member actually shot by Popeye. He is convicted, but before he can be sentenced, he is burned to death by a mob that storms the jail to take him.

Gowan Stevens

Gowan Stevens, a college student whose irresponsible conduct causes Temple to become Popeye’s victim.

Ruby Lamar

Ruby Lamar, Goodwin’s common-law wife, who helps the officers locate Temple in Memphis.

Horace Benbow

Horace Benbow, a lawyer who defends Goodwin and who is symbolic of the early Southern historical tradition.


Tommy, a bootlegger whom Popeye kills, and of whose death Goodwin is accused.

Miss Reba Rivers

Miss Reba Rivers, the madam of the Memphis bawdy house.


Red, a young customer of Temple who is killed by Popeye’s gang because Temple hopes to escape from Popeye and run away with Red.

Judge Drake

Judge Drake, Temple’s father, a wealthy, old-fashioned Southerner.

Senator Clarence Snopes

Senator Clarence Snopes, a corrupt Southern politician.


Van, a moonshiner who fights with Goodwin over Temple.


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The characters of Sanctuary are almost all disturbing. Temple Drake seems to swing wildly from, one personality to another, from a...

(The entire section is 198 words.)