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.
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
...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
...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)
...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
Chapter 9: I Have a Memorable Birthday
Chapter 20: Steerforth's Home
Chapter 27: Tommy Traddles
...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
...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)