Pale Fire


Vladimir Nabokov

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Oswin Bretwit Character Analysis

Oswin is a royalist ally of King Charles who lives in Paris. While Gradus is searching for the King, he tracks down Bretwit under the pretense of returning some valuable papers to him, hoping to glean some information about King Charles’s whereabouts. While at first, Bretwit suspects nothing of Gradus, he ultimately asks Gradus for the secret royalist hand signal before divulging any sensitive information, and Gradus fails the test. Bretwit still doesn’t realize that Gradus is an extremist, though; he merely assumes that the intruder is a nosy journalist and kicks him out.
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Oswin Bretwit Character Timeline in Pale Fire

The timeline below shows where the character Oswin Bretwit appears in Pale Fire. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Commentary: Lines 230-348
Identity, Delusion, and Loneliness Theme Icon
...he was to try to learn King Charles’s location from the former Zemblan consul Oswin Bretwit. Gradus pretended to be an apolitical man who had come into the possession of some... (full context)
Identity, Delusion, and Loneliness Theme Icon
To confirm that Gradus was a fellow Royalist, Bretwit asked for the secret hand signal: the sign for “X.” Gradus tried to imitate what... (full context)