The Reverend Eli Jenkins
The Reverend Eli Jenkins, the town’s minister, whose love for the fishing village of Milk Wood is expressed by his prayers and poetry as well as his life’s hobby, writing a book about every aspect of the town. His poems articulate what he loves in the little town—its humble beauties in the midst of the grandeur of Welsh landscapes that surround it. His prayers remind God that “We are not wholly bad or good/ Who live our lives under Milk Wood,” a theme the play seems to endorse. The play, presented as a day in the life of the town, is somewhat formless but is given some structure by Jenkins’ speeches, which begin and end the town’s day.
Captain Cat, a retired sea captain, now blind, who spends his days dreaming in his room at Schooner House. He is the most important of several old people who seem to watch over the town. He dreams of his travels on the seas and of the young men who sailed with him, some of whom apparently drowned at sea. Most of all, he dreams of long-dead Rosie Probert, a prostitute who was loved by Captain Cat (and many other seafarers) and who speaks to him in his dreams. Her speeches suggest her essential innocence.
Polly Garter, the town washerwoman and the subject of much local gossip. Her fatherless babies appear yearly, to the horrified interest of more respectable women. Polly is alluring and very accessible to men. Her monologues make clear, however, that although many men have loved her, she herself has loved only Little Willy Wee, who died long ago.
Mog Edwards, who is described as “a draper mad with love.” He keeps a dry...
(The entire section is 710 words.)