The Pilgrim’s Progress

by: John Bunyan

Christian

Christian is the central character of the book and the hero of the pilgrimage. Because Bunyan wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress as an allegory rather than a novel, Christian is not represented as particularly complicated or conflicted and has a simple personality. Christian represents just one profound aspect of the human experience: the search for religious truth. He is his faith (hence his name). Christian’s motivation, the search for salvation in the Celestial City, clearly defines him.

Christian is deeply goal oriented. Because reaching the Celestial City has a life-or-death urgency for him, he has little time or energy for lesser matters. Even his family shrinks nearly to insignificance in his mind as soon as he leaves for his journey. He never mentions his wife or children to his travel companions. At the Palace Beautiful, he shows some emotion when one of the four mistresses of the house inquires about his family, but he does not bring up the subject himself, nor does he return to it later. This does not mean Christian lacks feeling but only that the goal of salvation far outweighs any earthly concerns a pilgrim has.