Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Geoffrey Firmin

Geoffrey Firmin, formerly the British consul to Quauhnahuac, Mexico. He has resigned from the consular service and attempts to find a way not to return to England. When Geoffrey’s mother died, Geoffrey’s father remarried, and shortly following the birth of Hugh, Geoffrey’s half brother, the father walked away from the family. Geoffrey tried a career in the military prior to joining the consular service, but that, too, fell through. Geoffrey finds himself always forcing himself out of personal relationships. During the one day covered by the novel, Geoffrey demonstrates his inability to come to terms with his personal relationships with his wife, Yvonne; his half brother, Hugh; and his friend, Jacques Laruelle. Geoffrey’s one escape is his drinking. His greatest distress is that his brother, Hugh, and friend, Jacques, have committed a sin greater than one against marriage, one against blood. Geoffrey is executed by Mexican officials who accuse him of espionage.

Yvonne Firmin

Yvonne Firmin, Geoffrey’s wife. Yvonne appears after a one-year absence, during which she secured a divorce from Geoffrey. Like Geoffrey, she is unable to come to terms with her relationship with her spouse and Hugh and Jacques, two men with whom she has had affairs. Prior to her death by being trampled by a runaway horse, Yvonne is the force that brings the three other major characters together.


(The entire section is 531 words.)


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Geoffrey Firmin — the Consul — may be the supreme exemplar in modern fiction of self-knowledge that is cut off from the ability to act....

(The entire section is 598 words.)