Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Croak, a character addressed as “lord” by Words; Croak, in turn, refers to Words and Music as his “balms” and “comforts” and, more familiarly, as Joe and Bob. Wearing carpet slippers and carrying a club, Croak arrives late, asks them to forgive his delay, and then announces the performance’s first theme: love. He communicates his desires and, more often and more demonstrably, his displeasure, less by means of words than by means of sighs, groans, exclamations of anguish, and the peremptory thumping of his club. Disappointed by Words’s disquisition on love, he calls on Music. Then (either because the playing does not please him or because Words repeatedly interrupts Music), Croak changes the subject, first to age and later to “the face.” His early gentleness soon gives way to tyrannical demands and ultimately to anguish as Words’s speech conjures up for him the face of Lily (presumably the same face he saw earlier and that had caused him to be late). As the performance gains momentum, and as Words and Music finally do play together as bidden, Croak becomes more and more their helpless, perhaps enraptured audience. At the end of this radio play, Croak is heard haltingly shuffling away, back to the tower—back into the silence—from which he first came.


Words, a character who is deferential toward his master, Croak, but imperious toward Music, with whom he is cooped up in the dark. Interested as he may be in...

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