The Great Divorce

The Great Divorce Characters

The Narrator

The Narrator of The Great Divorce is never named. Furthermore, the novel contains little information about his personality, his personal life, or his interests. While we know that he’s of a literary turn of mind… (read full character analysis)

George MacDonald

George MacDonald (1824-1905) was a Scottish author (in real life, as well as in The Great Divorce) who wrote a series of highly popular children’s books and fantasies, many of which had a strong… (read full character analysis)

The Intelligent Man / Ikey

A shrewd, businesslike soul who has a nonsensical plan to sell the golden apples of the Valley of the Shadow of Life to the people of the Grey Town. Ikey exemplifies the shallowness and… (read full character analysis)

The Hard-Bitten Ghost

A bitter, cynical soul who tells the Narrator that Heaven and Hell are a “racket,” both owned by the same people. The Hard-Bitten Ghost is generally distrustful of the world—despite the fact that he’s “been… (read full character analysis)

Sir Archibald

An intelligent, intensely curious man who became so obsessed with understanding “survival”—i.e., how to live on Earth in the best way possible—that he became impatient in the afterlife. Archibald’s example acts as a warning to… (read full character analysis)
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Frank / Dwarf / Tragedian

Frank’s character is a complicated metaphor for the way humans use pity and self-loathing to manipulate other people, though he only appears toward the end of the novel. In life Frank knew and was loved… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
The Driver
The Driver is responsible for transporting souls from the Grey Town to the Valley of the Shadow of Life. He hides his face, and seems to be “full of light,” suggesting his supernatural, even angelic, qualities.
The Short Man
One of the souls who waits in line for the bus to the Valley of the Shadow of Life—he gets in a fight with the Big Man and leaves before the bus arrives.
The Big Man / Big Ghost
A large, aggressive man (and later a ghost) who argues, gets in fights, and ultimately refuses to believe that he can go to Heaven by exercising humility.
The Tousle-Headed Poet
A young, pretentious man who’s gone to the Grey Town after committing suicide. He thinks that he’s better than everyone around him, and loves to complain about people and places.
Len
A Spirit who knew the Big Man while they were both alive. In life, Len murdered Jack, but—much to the Big Man’s consternation—he’s partly redeemed his soul by loving God.
Jack
The man who Len murdered.
Dick
A Spirit who was an academic of some kind during life, and who believed in the truthfulness of Christian doctrine.
The Fat Man / Fat Ghost
A damned soul who in life was a Christian bishop. He wrote a series of intentionally provocative articles questioning the Christian doctrine of resurrection, and now refuses to change his warped beliefs.
The Water-Giant
An enormous angel, whom the Narrator mistakes for a waterfall.The Water-Giant’s extended arms and awesome demeanor evoke the spirit of Jesus Christ.
The Artist
A vain, pretentious painter who refuses to go to Heaven because there would be no need for paintings there. The Artist exemplifies the pitfalls of creativity—it can be a link to the glory of God, but also a distraction from it.
Robert
The husband of a female ghost—supposedly a lazy, negligent husband.
Hilda
A Spirit who vainly tries to convince a ghost to join her in Heaven.
Reginald
A Spirit, and the brother of Pam. Reginald vainly tries to convince Pam to join him in Heaven.
Michael
The child of Pam, who died too soon.
Pam
A ghost who refuses to join Reginald and Michael in Heaven because of her professed love for Michael, her child.
Sarah Smith
A lovely, beautiful Spirit who knew Frank in life, and tries to convince him to join her in Heaven.