The Browning Version

Frank Hunter Character Analysis

Frank Hunter is the dynamic young science teacher who is having an affair with Millie Crocker-Harris. He is well-liked by the pupils at the school but fears that his relationship with them is too informal and friendly, undermining his efforts as an educator. Frank’s sympathy for Andrew grows over the course of the play and he is deeply appalled by the callous way in which Millie dismisses Taplow’s gift to Andrew as a cynical attempt to gain favor. By the end of the play, Frank tells Millie that their affair is over and asks Andrew if he can visit him at his new school.

Frank Hunter Quotes in The Browning Version

The The Browning Version quotes below are all either spoken by Frank Hunter or refer to Frank Hunter. 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:
Personal Success and Failure Theme Icon
). 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

TAPLOW: (Protestingly.) I’m extremely interested in science, sir.

FRANK: Are you? I’m not. Not at least in the science I have to teach.

TAPLOW: Well, anyway, sir, it’s a good deal more exciting than this muck. (Indicating his book.)

FRANK: What is this muck?

TAPLOW: Aeschylus, sir. The Agamemnon.

FRANK: And your considered view is that the Agamemnon of Aeschylus is muck, is it?

TAPLOW: Well, no, sir. I don’t think the play is muck – exactly. I suppose, in a way, it’s rather a good plot, really, a wife murdering her husband and having a lover and all that. I only meant the way it’s taught to us – just a lot of Greek words strung together and fifty lines if you get them wrong.

Related Characters: John Taplow (speaker), Frank Hunter (speaker), Andrew Crocker-Harris
Related Symbols: The Agamemnon
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:
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TAPLOW: (Mimicking a very gentle, rather throaty voice) “My dear Taplow, I have given you exactly what you deserve. No less; and certainly no more.” Do you know, sir, I think he may have marked me down, rather than up, for taking extra work. I mean, the man’s barely human. (He breaks off quickly.) Sorry, sir. Have I gone too far?

Related Characters: John Taplow (speaker), Andrew Crocker-Harris, Frank Hunter
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

FRANK: Possibly not. He ought never to have become a school master, really. Why did he?

MILLIE: It was his vocation, he said. He was sure he'd make a big success of it, especially when he got his job here first go off. (Bitterly) Fine success he’s made, hasn’t he?

FRANK: You should have stopped him.

MILLIE: How was I to know? He talked about getting a house, then a headmastership.

FRANK: The Crock a headmaster! That’s a pretty thought.

MILLIE: Yes, it’s funny to think of it now, all right. Still he wasn’t always the Crock, you know. He had a bit more gumption once. At least I thought he had. Don’t let's talk any more about him – it’s too depressing.

FRANK: I’m sorry for him.

MILLIE: (Indifferently.) He's not sorry for himself, so why should you be? It’s me you should be sorry for.

Related Characters: Millie Crocker-Harris (speaker), Frank Hunter (speaker), Andrew Crocker-Harris
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

ANDREW: […] “God from afar looks graciously upon a gentle master.”

Related Characters: Andrew Crocker-Harris (speaker), John Taplow, Frank Hunter
Related Symbols: The Agamemnon
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

Pause. MILLIE laughs suddenly.

MILLIE: The artful little beast –

FRANK: (Urgently.) Millie –

ANDREW: Artful? Why artful?

MILLIE looks at FRANK who is staring meaningly at her.

Why artful, Millie?

MILLIE laughs again, quite lightly, and turns from FRANK to ANDREW.

MILLIE: My dear, because I came into this room this afternoon to find him giving an imitation of you to Frank here. Obviously he was scared stiff I was going to tell you, and you’d ditch his remove or something. I don't blame him for trying a few bobs’ worth of appeasement.

Related Characters: Andrew Crocker-Harris (speaker), Millie Crocker-Harris (speaker), Frank Hunter (speaker), John Taplow
Related Symbols: The Agamemnon
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

FRANK: (With a note of real repulsion in his voice.) Millie! My God! How could you?

MILLIE: Well, why not? Why should he be allowed his comforting little illusions? I’m not.

Related Characters: Millie Crocker-Harris (speaker), Frank Hunter (speaker), Andrew Crocker-Harris
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

ANDREW: You see, my dear Hunter, she is really quite as much to be pitied as I. We are both of us interesting subjects for your microscope. Both of us needing from the other something that would make life supportable for us, and neither of us able to give it. Two kinds of love. Hers and mine. Worlds apart, as I know now, though when I married her I didn’t think they were incompatible. In those days I hadn’t thought that her kind of love – the love she requires and which I was unable to give her – was so important that its absence would drive out the other kind of love – the kind of love that I require and which I thought, in my folly, was by far the greater part of love. I may have been, you see, Hunter, a brilliant classical scholar, but I was woefully ignorant of the facts of life. I know better now, of course. I know that in both of us, the love that we should have borne each other has turned to bitter hatred. That's all the problem is. Not a very unusual one, I venture to think – nor nearly as tragic as you seem to imagine. Merely the problem of an unsatisfied wife and a henpecked husband. You’ll find it all over the world. It is usually, I believe, a subject for farce. And now, if you have to leave us, my dear fellow, please don’t let me detain you any longer.

Related Characters: Andrew Crocker-Harris (speaker), Millie Crocker-Harris, Frank Hunter
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

ANDREW: If you think, by this expression of kindness, Hunter, that you can get me to repeat the shameful exhibition of emotion I made to Taplow a moment ago, I must tell you that you have no chance. My hysteria over that book just now was no more than a sort of reflex action of the spirit. The muscular twitchings of a corpse. It can never happen again.

FRANK: A corpse can be revived.

ANDREW: I don’t believe in miracles.

FRANK: Don’t you? Funnily enough, as a scientist, I do.

ANDREW: Your faith would be touching, if I were capable of being touched by it.

Related Characters: Andrew Crocker-Harris (speaker), Frank Hunter (speaker), John Taplow
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

MILLIE: He’s coming to Bradford. He’s not going to you.

ANDREW: The likeliest contingency is, that he’s not going to either of us. Shall we have dinner?

MILLIE: He’s coming to Bradford.

ANDREW: I expect so. Oh, by the way, I’m not. I shall be staying here until I go to Dorset.

MILLIE: (Indifferently.) Suit yourself – what makes you think I’ll join you there?

ANDREW: I don’t.

MILLIE: You needn’t expect me.

ANDREW: I don’t think either of us has the right to expect anything further from the other.

Related Characters: Andrew Crocker-Harris (speaker), Millie Crocker-Harris (speaker), Frank Hunter
Page Number: 44-45
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Frank Hunter Character Timeline in The Browning Version

The timeline below shows where the character Frank Hunter appears in The Browning Version. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Browning Version
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...picks up a walking stick and swings it like a golf club. At this moment, Frank Hunter, one of the younger and more popular teachers at the school, comes in and... (full context)
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Frank asks Taplow his name. The boy explains that he is hoping to move to Hunter’s... (full context)
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Frank notices that Taplow is carrying a book, which Taplow refers to as “muck”; Frank asks,... (full context)
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Frank asks why Taplow is in Mr. Crocker-Harris’s apartment on the last day of school. Taplow... (full context)
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Taplow tells Frank that he’d asked Mr. Crocker-Harris yesterday whether he had got his “remove.” Taplow then impersonates... (full context)
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Frank opens a newspaper and asks Taplow to do the impression again; Frank snorts, and then... (full context)
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Frank asks Taplow why the schoolboys are so scared of Mr. Crocker-Harris: “what does he do—beat... (full context)
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...he can’t help liking Mr. Crocker-Harris, “in spite of everything.” He relates a story to Frank from one his recent Classics lessons. Mr. Crocker-Harris had made a joke in a classical... (full context)
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...Crocker-Harris, Andrew Crocker-Harris’ wife, enters the room; it takes a few seconds for Taplow and Frank to notice her. (full context)
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Frank and Millie greet each other. As the latter goes to put down some parcels and... (full context)
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Millie asks Frank for a cigarette and inquires whether he will be staying for dinner. She wonders why... (full context)
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Frank explains that he had planned to be with his family in September. Millie wants him... (full context)
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Millie approaches Frank, who kisses her swiftly and nervously. He says he’s worried about the screen door, because... (full context)
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Millie says it was “very naughty” of Frank to encourage Taplow’s impression. He agrees, and complains that, having only been at the school... (full context)
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Frank asks Millie why Andrew decided to become a schoolmaster in the first place. According to... (full context)
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Frank and Millie kiss again, with Frank still appearing reluctant. Millie explains what she’s been doing... (full context)
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Andrew Crocker-Harris enters, dressed in a suit and looking generally “neat” and “unruffled.” Frank and Millie quickly compose themselves. Andrew asks whether Taplow is around. Millie explains that she... (full context)
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As Andrew steps deeper into the room he notices Frank and greets him. Andrew says that he and Millie had expected Frank at the cricket... (full context)
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...unfurls the timetable, which is a long roll of paper “entirely covered in meticulous writing.” Frank is evidently impressed; Millie says it “bores her to death.” Frank doesn’t know what the... (full context)
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Frank asks about the new job Andrew will go to; Andrew explains that it is a... (full context)
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...apologizes to Taplow for being late. Millie exits to the kitchen to start preparing dinner. Frank also goes to leave, in order to leave Taplow and Andrew alone. As he exits,... (full context)
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There is a knock on the garden door. Frank Hunter comes in, apologizing for interrupting; he had thought Andrew and Taplow would have been... (full context)
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Andrew tells Frank that he wants him to see the gift Taplow has given him and hands it... (full context)
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...in translation: “God from afar looks graciously upon a gentle master.” The quote, Andrew tells Frank, comes from a speech of Agamemnon’s to Clytemnestra. Frank calls it “very pleasant and very... (full context)
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...a little, expressing “what a fool” he’s made of himself in front of Taplow and Frank. He says he is not a “very emotional person,” but that there was something “so... (full context)
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Millie comes in and takes a cigarette from Frank. He explains that Andrew has just received a “very nice” present from Taplow. Andrew shows... (full context)
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Frank gives the translation for the inscription but gets it slightly wrong. As Andrew gently corrects... (full context)
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As soon as Andrew is out of the room, Frank chastises Millie, evidently repulsed by her cold dismissal of Taplow’s gift. She says: “Why should... (full context)
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Frank goes to leave but comes back in to tell Millie that their relationship is “finished.”... (full context)
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As Frank heads to the door, Millie runs to stop him. She doesn’t understand his attitude. He... (full context)
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Millie accuses Frank of hypocrisy for suddenly caring about Andrew when Frank has been deceiving Andrew by sleeping... (full context)
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Frank tells Andrew that he will not be staying for dinner. Andrew pours himself a sherry... (full context)
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Frank recounts what Taplow said more precisely: “He said: ‘He doesn’t seem to like people to... (full context)
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Frank implores Andrew to believe him about Taplow’s intentions. Andrew reassures Frank that he is not... (full context)
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Frank says that if Taplow “ever breathes a word of that story to anyone” he’ll “murder... (full context)
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Frank is amazed to learn that Andrew already knew about his affair with Millie. It was... (full context)
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Frank calls Millie “evil.” Andrew says that isn’t a kind word to use about someone, so... (full context)
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Andrew jokingly calls Frank’s statement “delightfully chivalrous.” Frank again implores Andrew to leave Millie: “she’s out to kill you.”... (full context)
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Andrew goes into further detail about his and Millie’s marriage, telling Frank that both he and her are “interesting subjects for your microscope.” He explains that they... (full context)
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Andrew says his situation is not nearly as “tragic” as Frank seems to imagine: “Merely the problem of an unsatisfied wife and a henpecked husband. You’ll... (full context)
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Frank agrees to leave, but first he wants Andrew to say goodbye to him properly. Andrew... (full context)
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Frank tells Andrew “a corpse can be revived.” Andrew responds that he doesn’t “believe in miracles.”... (full context)
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Frank heads to the door. He tells Andrew that he is “off to have a quick... (full context)
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Just before he leaves, Frank gets Andrew to tell him what his new address will be. Millie comes in at... (full context)
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After a moment’s silence, Millie laughs. She says it’s funny that Andrew has invited Frank to visit him. Andrew protests that Frank suggested the visit. Millie spitefully retorts that Frank... (full context)