The Pilgrim’s Progress

The Pilgrim’s Progress


John Bunyan

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Giant Despair Character Analysis

Giant Despair lives in Doubting Castle, somewhere between Vanity Fair and the Delectable Mountains, with his wife, Diffidence. After wandering off their path to the Celestial City and getting stranded in a storm, Christian and Hopeful accidentally trespass on Giant Despair’s land. Giant Despair throws them into a dungeon and denies them food. On his wife’s advice, he also beats the prisoners and tries to provoke them to suicide. Mr. Great-heart and his friends later destroy the giant’s castle.

Giant Despair Quotes in The Pilgrim’s Progress

The The Pilgrim’s Progress quotes below are all either spoken by Giant Despair or refer to Giant Despair. 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:
The Burden of Sin and Salvation through Christ Theme Icon
Part 1: Giant Despair and Doubting Castle Quotes

My Brother, said he, rememberest thou not how valiant thou hast been heretofore? Apollyon could not crush thee, nor could all that thou didst hear, or see, or feel in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. What hardship, terror, and amazement hast thou already gone through, and art thou now nothing but fear? Thou seest that I am in the Dungeon with thee, a far weaker man by nature than thou art; also this Giant has wounded me as well as thee, and hath also cut off the Bread and Water from my mouth; and with thee I mourn without the light. But let's exercise a little more patience[.]

Related Characters: Hopeful (speaker), Christian, Giant Despair, Apollyon
Page Number: 121
Explanation and Analysis:

Well on Saturday about midnight they began to pray, and continued in Prayer till almost break of day.

Now a little before it was day, good Christian, as one half amazed, brake out in passionate speech: What a fool, quoth he, am I, thus to lie in a stinking Dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty. I have a Key in my bosom called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any Lock in Doubting Castle. […]

Then Christian pulled it out of his bosom, and began to try at the Dungeon door, whose bolt (as he turned the Key) gave back, and the door flew open with ease, and Christian and Hopeful both came out.

Related Characters: Hopeful (speaker), Christian, Giant Despair
Page Number: 123
Explanation and Analysis:
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Giant Despair Character Timeline in The Pilgrim’s Progress

The timeline below shows where the character Giant Despair appears in The Pilgrim’s Progress. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Giant Despair and Doubting Castle
Obstacles on the Journey Theme Icon
The place where Christian and Hopeful fall asleep is on the grounds of a Giant named Despair, whose home, Doubting Castle, is nearby. Early the next morning, Giant Despair discovers... (full context)
Obstacles on the Journey Theme Icon
That night, Giant Despair asks his wife, Diffidence, for advice about the prisoners. She tells him to beat... (full context)
Obstacles on the Journey Theme Icon
...Lord forbids murder of anyone, including themselves. Besides, they’ve heard that others have escaped the Giant. How do they know that God won’t help them in some way? Hopeful encourages Christian... (full context)
Obstacles on the Journey Theme Icon
That evening, Giant Despair visits the dungeon and is furious to see that his prisoners are still alive;... (full context)
The World vs. Christianity Theme Icon
Obstacles on the Journey Theme Icon
That night, Diffidence advises Despair to take Christian and Hopeful outside and show them the bones of people he’s killed... (full context)
Obstacles on the Journey Theme Icon
...their way through the other gates, and when the creaking of the last gate wakes Giant Despair, he suffers another fit which prevents him from pursuing the men. Soon, they’re back... (full context)
Part 1: The Delectable Mountains
Obstacles on the Journey Theme Icon
...of them blind, stumbling among tombs. The Shepherds explain that these men were blinded by Giant Despair and left to wander forever among the tombs. Christian and Hopeful cry at this. (full context)
Part 2: Doubting Castle and the Delectable Mountains
Obstacles on the Journey Theme Icon
...sons will attempt to demolish Doubting Castle altogether. When the group knocks at the gate, Despair and Diffidence arrogantly go forward to fight them. Diffidence is killed by Honest’s blow, and... (full context)
Obstacles on the Journey Theme Icon of the group breaks into celebratory music and dancing when they learn of the Giant Despair’s demise. They place the Giant’s head on a pillar for a monument and warning... (full context)