The narrator and protagonist of the book, Stevens is an older man who has spent his entire life as a butler, just as his father was. After spending most of his career serving an aristocrat… (read full character analysis)
The lead housemaid at Darlington Hall, Miss Kenton is intelligent, headstrong, and stubborn. Like Stevens, she takes a great deal of pride in her work and in her position, but she also possesses a… (read full character analysis)
The owner of Darlington Hall, which has been in his family for hundreds of years, Lord Darlington is described by various characters as a true old gentleman. After fighting in World War I, Lord Darlington… (read full character analysis)
The new owner of Darlington Hall, Mr. Farraday is one of a number of wealthy Americans who moved to Britain and bought up old country houses after World War II when the estates’ original owners… (read full character analysis)
An old friend of Stevens and a fellow butler, who appears only in Stevens’s reminiscences. Mr. Graham believes, unlike Stevens, that dignity is something one cannot hope to define; they have a number of lively… (read full character analysis)
A close friend of Lord Darlington who works with him to gather together important figures in order to attempt to ease relations between Britain and Germany. Sir Cardinal is another example of an earlier generation… (read full character analysis)
An American senator who attends the unofficial international “conference” organized by Lord Darlington and Sir David Cardinal in March 1923 to attempt to ease reparations requirements for Germany. Mr. Lewis ultimately reveals himself to be… (read full character analysis)
A Frenchman whom Lord Darlington and Sir David Cardinal manage to convince to attend their unofficial international “conference” in March 1923. It seems initially that he is under the influence of Mr. Lewis, but… (read full character analysis)
One of the only servants to stay on at Darlington Hall after Lord Darlington’s death.
Mr. Jack Neighbours
A butler well-known throughout the service profession in the 1920s and 1930s who was popular and widely copied in his methods and manners. Stevens dismisses him as lacking true greatness (even though it also seems he may be slightly envious of Mr. Neighbours’s clout).
Mr. David Charles
An aristocrat who is a frequent guest of Lord Darlington and who tells Stevens anecdotes about the great professionalism of Stevens senior.
The doctor on call for Darlington Hall who presides over the death of Stevens’s father.
Mr. Reginald Cardinal
Sir David Cardinal’s son and Lord Darlington’s godson. Also a member of the aristocratic class, Mr. Cardinal adapts better to modern society, writing a witty newspaper column and recognizing, eventually, just how much Lord Darlington had been deceived and become a pawn of the Nazis.
The cook at Darlington Hall.
Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield
An American couple who come to visit Mr. Farraday, and who have also recently bought an old English country house.
Lord Halifax is a real historical figure, Britain’s foreign secretary in the 1930s through 1944. In the novel, Halifax is a frequent visitor to Darlington Hall, and Lord Darlington attempts to convince him to appease the Nazis.
Ribbentrop is a real historical figure, the Foreign Minister of Nazi Germany. In The Remains of the Day, Ribbentrop is also a frequent guest at Darlington Hall and he is at the center of attempts to have Britain leave the Nazis alone for as long as possible.
Mrs. Carolyn Barnet
An intelligent, middle-aged woman who visits Darlington Hall often for several months one summer, and who influences Lord Darlington into adopting anti-Semitic views.
Ruth and Sarah
Two Jewish housemaids at Darlington Hall, whom Stevens dismisses after Lord Darlington tells him he doesn’t want Jewish people on his staff.
Mr. and Mrs. Taylor
A couple that hosts Stevens in their home in a village called Moscombe after his car runs out of gas.
A villager in Moscombe and friend of the Taylors who is impressed by Stevens.
Another Moscombe villager and friend of the Taylors.
Mr. Harry Smith
Also a resident of Moscombe, Mr. Smith is involved in local politics and believes fiercely in democratic action and the involvement of British citizens in their national affairs. He provokes some contemplation by Stevens on the nature of dignity.
Mr. Smith’s wife, who is quite impressed by Stevens.
The local doctor in Moscombe, who moved to the village as an idealistic socialist, but who seems to have lost those views.
A gentleman who, as a visitor to Darlington Hall, asks Stevens a number of questions about specific political news, with the intent of showing his companion that it is useless to expect intelligent political opinions from people of lower classes.