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The Pilgrim’s Progress

John Bunyan

Character List

Plot Overview

Analysis of Major Characters

Part I

Christian -  Husband and father stricken by spiritual crisis. Christian is told by a messenger to leave his doomed city and begin a journey of progress toward spiritual achievement.

Read an in-depth analysis of Christian.

Evangelist -  The messenger carrying the Gospel, or word of Christ, to Christian. Evangelist spurs Christian on his journey to the Celestial City.
Obstinate -  A neighbor of Christian’s in the City of Destruction who refuses to accompany him.
Pliable -  A neighbor of Christian’s who accompanies him for a while. After falling in the Slough of Despond, Pliable is discouraged and returns home, only to be mocked by the townsfolk.
Help -  Fellow pilgrim who helps pull Christian from the Slough of Despond.
Worldly Wiseman -  A reasonable and practical man whom Christian encounters early in his journey. Worldly Wiseman tries unsuccessfully to urge Christian to give up his religious foolishness and live a contented secular life.
Formalist -  A traveler whom Christian meets along the wall of Salvation. With his companion Hypocrisy, Formalist sneaks over the wall, instead of following the strait and narrow as Christian did.
Hypocrisy -  Formalist’s travel companion.
Discretion -  One of the four mistresses of the Palace Beautiful. Discretion takes Christian in and feeds him.
Piety -  One of the four mistresses of the Palace Beautiful. Piety asks Christian about his journey so far.
Prudence -  One of the four mistresses of the Palace Beautiful. Prudence tries to understand Christian’s purpose in traveling to Mount Zion.
Charity -  One of the four mistresses of the Palace Beautiful. Charity asks Christian why he did not bring his family, which causes him to weep.
The Interpreter -  Spiritual guide who shelters Christian. The Interpreter instructs Christian in the art of reading religious meanings hidden in everyday objects and events, which he houses in his Significant Rooms.
Apollyon -  Fierce monster with fish scales, bear feet, and dragon wings. Apollyon threatens Christian and fights him with sword until Christian defeats him.

Read an in-depth analysis of Apollyon.

Shining Ones -  Three celestial creatures who clothe Christian with new garments and give him the certificate. The Shining Ones act as guardians throughout Christian’s journey.
Faithful -  Fellow pilgrim from Christian’s hometown who reports on the city they both left behind. Faithful loyally accompanies Christian until he is executed in the town of Vanity for the crime of disrespecting the local Satan-worshipping religion.
Talkative -  Fellow pilgrim who travels alongside Christian and Faithful for a while. Talkative is spurned by Christian for valuing spiritual words over religious deeds.
Mr. By-ends -  A user of religion for personal ends and social profit. Mr. By-ends accompanies Christian briefly after Christian escapes from Vanity.
Hopeful -  Pilgrim who replaces Faithful as Christian’s travel companion and confidant after leaving Vanity, all the way to the Celestial City. Hopeful saves Christian’s life in the river before the gates to Mount Zion.
Giant Despair -  Master of the Doubting Castle. Giant Despair imprisons Hopeful and Christian for trespassing on his domain and is later killed by Great-heart and Christiana’s sons.
Diffidence -  Giant Despair’s wife. She encourages the harsh punishment of Hopeful and Christian in the Doubting Castle.
Demas -  Gentlemanly figure who tries to entice Christian and Hopeful with silver and dreams of wealth.
Temporary -  A would-be pilgrim whom Christian speaks of in a cautionary way, warning of Temporary’s backsliding before his spiritual progress was complete.

Part II

Sagacity -  An elderly man who visits the narrator in his dream. After the narrator asks after Christian’s family, Sagacity offers to take the narrator’s place as the storyteller and recount Christiana’s journey.
Christiana -  Christian’s wife and the titular pilgrim in Part II. As a spiritual voyager and a guide to her children, Christiana shows remarkable strength and resilience on the journey.

Read an in-depth analysis of Christiana.

Mercy -  Christiana’s neighbor employed by her as a servant on her pilgrimage. She later marries Matthew, Christiana’s eldest son.
Matthew -  Christiana’s eldest son, who eventually marries Mercy. After stealing fruit from the devil’s garden, Matthew must be healed by Dr. Skill.
Joseph -  A son of Christiana.
Samuel -  A son of Christiana.
James -  Christiana’s youngest son.
Ill-Favored Ones -  Two strangers who attempt to harm Christiana and Mercy.
Reliever -  Fellow pilgrim who rescues Christiana and Mercy from the two Ill-Favored Ones.
Mr. Great-heart -  The Interpreter’s manservant. He protects and guides Christiana and Mercy on their way up the hill of Difficulty and toward the House Beautiful.
Watchful -  Porter of the House Beautiful.
Grim -  Master of the lions, who threatens Christiana and Mercy on their way to the House Beautiful.
Maul -  A giant killed by Great-heart. He accuses Great-heart of kidnapping the pilgrims.
Mr. Brisk -  Mercy’s suitor. He ends their affair because she is too involved in charity work.
Old Honest -  An elderly pilgrim. While accompanying Christiana and her group, he relates the sad demise of the pilgrim Fearing.
Mr. Fearing -  A pilgrim who accompanies Honest for some time. Mr. Fearing is courageous in the face of physical danger but insufficiently certain about his desire to reach the Celestial City.
Gaius -  A homeowner and host who welcomes Christiana and her group. Two of Gaius’s daughters marry two of Christiana’s sons.
Giant Good-Slay -  A giant slain by Gaius, Great-heart, and others. He almost devours the pilgrim Feeble-mind.
Heedless -  A pilgrim who falls asleep near the end of his pilgrimage and talks in his sleep, showing his basic failure to understand pilgrimage.
Too-bold -  Heedless’s cohort.
Madam Bubble -  A tall, attractive, dark-skinned temptress. Madam Bubble offers Standfast herself and her money if he will stay with her.
Standfast -  The last pilgrim met by Christiana. Standfast is found kneeling on the ground and praying in thanks for having been delivered from the temptation of Madam Bubble.
Mr. Feeble-Mind -  A mentally slow pilgrim captured and nearly killed by the giant Good-Slay. Mr. Feeble-Mind is rescued by Gaius and joins Christiana’s group of pilgrims.
Mr. Ready-to-Halt -  A handicapped pilgrim who joins Christiana’s group on crutches.
Mr. Mnason -  Pilgrim with whom Christiana’s group lodges. Two of Mnason’s daughters are married off to Christiana’s sons.
Contrite -  Friend of Mnason’s, who says that the locals feel a burden of guilt after the unjust execution of Christian’s friend Faithful.
Valiant-for-truth -  A strong, sword-wielding pilgrim. Valiant-for-truth drives off three attackers single-handedly and joins Christiana’s group at the end of their journey.

More Help

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The man in the iron cage

by Ewan_Wattameye, July 14, 2013

I would take a certain issue with the observation that Bunyan invokes his own imprisonment when he writes about the man in the iron cage. Certainly Bunyan would have been sensitive to the idea of imprisonment, and this sensitivity could very well have emboldened his passion to warn others of the unwanted consequences of certain behaviors, but I believe there the similarity ends. Bunyan had been imprisoned for preaching the gospel without an official sanction from the religious establishment of the day; the unjust result of extreme obedienc

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