The Browning Version

Dr. Frobisher Character Analysis

Dr. Frobisher is the school headmaster. He has a charming if somewhat superficial manner and primarily serves to deliver two items of bad news to Andrew. The first is that Andrew has been refused his pension; the second is that he wants Andrew to be the first speaker in the school assembly, rather than Andrew taking the closing slot that his seniority would normally deserve.

Dr. Frobisher Quotes in The Browning Version

The The Browning Version quotes below are all either spoken by Dr. Frobisher or refer to Dr. Frobisher. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Nick Hern Books edition of The Browning Version published in 2008.
The Browning Version Quotes

FROBISHER: I’ve told you about him, I think. He is a very brilliant young man and won exceptionally high honours at Oxford.

ANDREW: So I understand, sir.

FROBISHER: Not, of course, as high as the honours you yourself won there. He didn't, for instance, win the Chancellor’s prize for Latin verse or the Gaisford.

ANDREW: He won the Hertford Latin, then?
FROBISHER: No. (Mildly surprised.) Did you win that, too?

ANDREW nods

FROBISHER: It’s sometimes rather hard to remember that you are perhaps the most brilliant classical scholar we have ever had at the school –

ANDREW: You are very kind.

FROBISHER: (Urbanely corrects his gaffe.) Hard to remember, I mean – because of your other activities – your brilliant work on the school timetable, for instance, and also for your heroic battle for so long and against such odds with the soul–destroying lower fifth.

Related Characters: Andrew Crocker-Harris (speaker), Dr. Frobisher (speaker), Peter Gilbert
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:
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MILLIE: The mean old brutes! My God, what I wouldn’t like to say to them! (Rounding on ANDREW.) And what did you say? Just sat there and made a joke in Latin, I suppose?

ANDREW: There wasn’t very much I could say, in Latin or any other language.

MILLIE: Oh, wasn’t there? I’d have said it all right. I wouldn’t just have sat there twiddling my thumbs and taking it from that old phoney of a headmaster. But then, of course, I’m not a man.

ANDREW is turning the pages of the Agamemnon, not looking at her.

What do they expect you to do? Live on my money, I suppose.

ANDREW: There has never been any question of that. I shall be perfectly able to support myself.

MILLIE: Yourself? Doesn’t the marriage service say something about the husband supporting his wife? Doesn’t it? You ought to know?

Related Characters: Andrew Crocker-Harris (speaker), Millie Crocker-Harris (speaker), Dr. Frobisher
Related Symbols: The Agamemnon
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

ANDREW: They are mostly boys of about fifteen or sixteen. They are not very difficult to handle.

GILBERT: The headmaster said you ruled them with a rod of iron. He called you the Himmler of the lower fifth.

ANDREW: Did he? The Himmler of the lower fifth? I think he exaggerated. I hope he exaggerated. The Himmler of the lower fifth?

GILBERT: (Puzzled) He only meant that you kept the most wonderful discipline. I must say I do admire you for that. I couldn’t even manage that with eleven–year–olds, so what I’ll be like with fifteens and sixteens I shudder to think.

ANDREW. It is not so difficult. They aren’t bad boys. Sometimes – a little wild and unfeeling, perhaps – but not bad. The Himmler of the lower fifth? Dear me!

Related Characters: Andrew Crocker-Harris (speaker), Peter Gilbert (speaker), Dr. Frobisher
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

ANDREW: Oh, by the way, headmaster. I have changed my mind about the prize–giving ceremony. I intend to speak after, instead of before, Fletcher, as is my privilege . . . Yes, I quite understand, but I am now seeing the matter in a different light . . . I know, but I am of opinion that occasionally an anti–climax can be surprisingly effective. Goodbye.

(He rings off and goes and sits at table.)

Come along, my dear. We mustn’t let our dinner get cold.

Related Characters: Andrew Crocker-Harris (speaker), Dr. Frobisher
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Dr. Frobisher Character Timeline in The Browning Version

The timeline below shows where the character Dr. Frobisher appears in The Browning Version. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Browning Version
Emotions and Repression Theme Icon
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Millie comes in, wearing an apron. She informs Andrew that the headmaster, Dr. Frobisher , is about to arrive. Taplow gets up, thinking that he ought to leave. The... (full context)
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Dr. Frobisher asks Andrew if the Gilberts have called to the flat yet. Andrew does not know... (full context)
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Dr. Frobisher outlines Peter Gilbert’s distinguished academic achievements at Oxford University, but says they aren’t as high... (full context)
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Changing the subject, Dr. Frobisher informs Andrew that he has two “delicate matters” to discuss. The headmaster expresses how “unlucky”... (full context)
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Andrew asks whether Dr. Frobisher ’s comment confirms he will not receive any pension from the school. Dr. Frobisher says... (full context)
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Dr. Frobisher says Andrew’s case for a pension is just as deserving as Buller’s was, but “rules... (full context)
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...been “very welcome,” but sees no reason to argue with the governors’ decision. He asks Dr. Frobisher for the second “delicate matter.” Dr. Frobisher asks Andrew whether he would be willing to... (full context)
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Dr. Frobisher goes on to explain his reasons for wanting to swap the order of speakers: he... (full context)
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Millie comes in, having smartened up. She exchanges greetings with Dr. Frobisher . He compliments her appearance, asking Andrew if he knows that he has a “very... (full context)
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With Dr. Frobisher gone, Millie comes back into the room and curtly asks Andrew: “Well? Do we get... (full context)
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Andrew informs Millie of Dr. Frobisher ’s other “delicate matter,” to have him speak first at tomorrow’s ceremony. She is nonplussed... (full context)
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Gilbert says that Dr. Frobisher told him that Andrew “ruled them [the pupils] with a rod of iron. He called... (full context)
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...that he just wanted to come back and say goodbye, and that the arrival of Dr. Frobisher had prevented him from doing so earlier. He hands a small book to Andrew, saying... (full context)
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The phone rings, which Andrew picks up—it’s the headmaster, Dr. Frobisher . Andrew answers Dr. Frobisher’s questions about the timetable, before informing him that he has... (full context)