Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

The Father

The Father, Albert Valpor (or Walpor in some texts), a retired skipper of a merchant ship. He is an unflappable pessimist who does not believe that human beings make much difference in the scheme of things. Still, he is rather impressed when his son Edgar kills Elizabeth Gutzie-Virgeling, who is referred to as the Water Hen, and he thinks that perhaps Edgar can make something important out of his life after all. The revolution that takes place at the end of the play fails to impress Albert.


He, Edgar Valpor, Albert’s good-looking, if inept, son. He is devoted to the Water Hen but balks at her insistence that he shoot her. He wonders with whom he will be able to talk if he shoots her. He is finally convinced by her arguments and actually kills her. He has no real convictions about life, and the murder does not affect him much. When his son Tadzio questions him about the murder, Edgar is unable to explain his motivations. By the end of act 1, Edgar believes that he has created a family by acknowledging Tadzio and marrying Lady Alice. He is amazed when the Water Hen returns and is puzzled when she denies that Tadzio is her son. Because the Water Hen is convinced that he did not suffer because of her death, Edgar submits to the physical agony of a torture machine to demonstrate the reality of his feelings.


Tadzio, who claims to be Edgar’s son and eventually convinces him that this is so. By act 2, Tadzio has forgotten why Edgar is his father. Unlike the...

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