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Characters in The House of the Seven Gables

Nathaniel Hawthorne's romance The House of the Seven Gables is unlike most works of literature in that it truly features an ensemble cast of characters who all play a significant role in the plot and the articulation of Hawthorne's main theme. Indeed, one could make an argument for any one of the characters as the driving force behind Hawthorne's narrative. However, it would seem that it is Judge Pyncheon who most convincingly fits the role of main character, particularly in relation to Hawthorne's main theme in The House of the Seven Gables, namely that the sins committed by one generation of a family will inevitably impact future generations. Thus, Judge Pyncheon may be considered Hawthorne's main character, as he is the present day embodiment of all the Pyncheon family's past sins.

When considering all of the characters in The House of The Seven Gables, it is obvious that Judge Pyncheon is the book's undeniable antagonist. Indeed, Hawthorne's initial description of the Judge gives the reader immediate cause to suspect him of sinister intentions. The author hints at his insincerity as he describes:

aHis dark, square countenance, with its almost shaggy depth of eyebrows, was naturally impressive, and would, perhaps, have been rather stern, had not the gentleman considerably taken upon himself to mitigate the harsh effect by a look of exceeding good humor and benevolence. Owing, however, to a somewhat massive accumulation of animal substance about the lower region of his face, the look was, perhaps, unctuous, rather than spiritual, and had, so to speak, a kind of fleshy effulgence, not altogether so satisfactory as he doubtless intended it to be. A susceptible observer, at any rate, might have regarded it as affording very little evidence of the general benignity of the soul whereof it purported to be the outward reflection (Hawthorne 106).

Certainly Hawthorne's introduction of the Judge paints him in an un...

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Characters in The House of the Seven Gables. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:23, February 26, 2017, from