David Copperfield

David Copperfield

Mr. Creakle Character Analysis

Mr. Creakle is the headmaster at Salem House and is a soft-spoken but extremely violent man. His background is in business rather than education, and he has no real interest in his students except as a source of income. He is also a sadistic bully, and enjoys beating the boys for supposed infractions (although he is careful to remain on Steerforth's good side on account of his family's wealth). Creakle's cruelty also extends into his family life; his wife and daughter seem frightened of him, and he is rumored to have disowned a son. Creakle reemerges at the end of the novel as a magistrate who treats the prisoners under his jurisdiction (including Uriah Heep and Mr. Littimer) better than he ever treated his students.
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Mr. Creakle Character Timeline in David Copperfield

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Creakle appears in David Copperfield. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5: I Am Sent Away From Home
Coming of Age and Personal Development Theme Icon
Ambition, Social Mobility, and Morality Theme Icon
...school, which is largely empty: it is the holidays, and both the students and Mr. Creakle, the headmaster, are away. David then describes the schoolroom Mr. Mell shows him at length,... (full context)
Chapter 6: I Enlarge My Circle of Acquaintance
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...in preparation for the arrival of students. That evening, David is summoned to see Mr. Creakle. David is intimidated by the headmaster, who has a habitually angry expression and always talks... (full context)
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...the present day. Through their talk, David learns more about the school—for instance, that Mr. Creakle and Tungay (the man with the wooden leg) used to work together trading hops (an... (full context)
Chapter 7: My 'First Half' at Salem House
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Classes begin the next day with Mr. Creakle barging into the classroom and threatening to beat any students who don't apply themselves in... (full context)
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...act as a protector for David, though he does not intervene on his behalf with Creakle. David, however, remains in awe of him, and Steerforth seems to feel some fondness in... (full context)
Coming of Age and Personal Development Theme Icon
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The students at Salem generally learn little because of their fear of Mr. Creakle. David, however, does manage to pick up "some crumbs of knowledge" from Mr. Mell, and... (full context)
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Suddenly, Mr. Creakle enters, and scolds Mr. Mell for "forgetting himself" so far as to chastise Steerforth and... (full context)
Chapter 9: I Have a Memorable Birthday
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..."feeling tone" to go to the parlor. David does so unsuspectingly only to find Mr. Creakle and his wife waiting for him. Mrs. Creakle attempts to break the news gently to... (full context)
Chapter 20: Steerforth's Home
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...to his "superiority." Far from alarming David, this makes him think more highly of Mr. Creakle. Mrs. Steerforth then goes on to say that while she is not surprised David is... (full context)
Chapter 27: Tommy Traddles
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...the "happy times" they had there. David attempts to remind Traddles of how cruelly Mr. Creakle treated the students (and Traddles in particular), but Traddles seems happy to let bygones be... (full context)
Chapter 61: I Am Shown Two Interesting Penitents
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...used to. Traddles admits that he does, and laughs, in a "forgiving way," about "Old Creakle." David then takes out a letter Creakle has sent him, explaining that his fame has... (full context)
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...which is an imposing and expensive building. Once inside, they meet several magistrates, and Mr. Creakle greets David and Traddles warmly. There is a conversation about prison conditions that David finds... (full context)
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...to see that the prisoner is Uriah Heep, who greets both him and Traddles. Mr. Creakle asks Uriah how he is, and he replies that he is "very umble." One of... (full context)
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...and repent. Littimer then exchanges a glance with Uriah and returns to his cell. Mr. Creakle asks whether there is anything more he can do for Uriah, and Uriah asks permission... (full context)
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Mr. Creakle asks whether Uriah has anything to say to David. Uriah says he does, reminding David... (full context)
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As the tour ends, David feels it would be useless to try to convince Mr. Creakle that Uriah and Littimer are not repentant at all. Instead, he and Traddles simply leave... (full context)