The novel’s frontier hero, he is a woodsman, hunter, and scout. Hawkeye is the hero’s adopted name; his real name is Natty Bumppo. A famous marksman, Hawkeye carries a rifle named Killdeer and has earned the frontier nickname La Longue Carabine, or The Long Rifle. Hawkeye moves more comfortably in the forest than in civilization. His closest bonds are with Indians, particularly Chingachgook and Uncas, but he frequently asserts that he has no Indian blood. As a cultural hybrid—a character who mixes elements of different cultures—Hawkeye provides a link between Indians and whites.
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The novel’s villain, he is a cunning Huron nicknamed Le Renard Subtil, or the Subtle Fox. Once a chief among his people, Magua was driven from his tribe for drunkenness. Because the English Colonel Munro enforced this humiliating punishment, Magua possesses a burning desire for retaliation against him.
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A young American colonist from the South who has risen to the rank of major in the English army. Courageous, well-meaning, and noble, Heyward often finds himself out of place in the forest, thwarted by his lack of knowledge about the frontier and Indian relations. Heyward’s unfamiliarity with the land sometimes creates problems for Hawkeye, the dexterous woodsman and leader.
Chingachgook’s son, he is the youngest and last member of the Indian tribe known as the Mohicans. A noble, proud, self-possessed young man, Uncas falls in love with Cora Munro and suffers tragic consequences for desiring a forbidden interracial coupling. Noble Uncas thwarts the evil Magua’s desire to marry Cora. Uncas also functions as Hawkeye’s adopted brother and learns about leadership from Hawkeye.
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Uncas’s father, he is one of the two surviving members of the Mohican tribe. An old friend of Hawkeye, Chingachgook is also known as Le Gros Serpent—The Great Snake—because of his crafty intelligence.
A young Calvinist attempting to carry Christianity to the frontier through the power of his song. Ridiculously out of place in the wilderness, Gamut is the subject of Hawkeye’s frequent mockery. Gamut matures into Hawkeye’s helpful ally, frequently supplying him with important information.
Colonel Munro’s eldest daughter, a solemn girl with a noble bearing. Cora’s dark complexion derives from her mother’s “Negro” background. Cora attracts the love of the Mohican warrior Uncas and seems to return his feelings cautiously. She suffers the tragic fate of the sentimental heroine.
Colonel Munro’s younger daughter by his Scottish second wife, and Cora’s half-sister. Girlish and young, she tends to faint at stressful moments. Alice and Heyward love each other. Alice’s blonde hair, fair skin, and weakness make her a conventional counterpart to the racially mixed and fiery Cora.
The commander of the British forces at Fort William Henry and father of Cora and Alice. As a young man, Munro traveled to the West Indies, where he married a woman of “Negro” descent, Cora’s mother. When Munro’s first wife died, he returned to Scotland and married his childhood sweetheart, who later gave birth to Alice. Although Munro is a massive, powerful man, circumstances in the war eventually leave him withdrawn and ineffectual.
Marquis Louis Joseph de Saint-Veran, known as Montcalm, is the commander of the French forces fighting against England during the French and Indian War. He enlists the aid and knowledge of Indian tribes to help his French forces navigate the unfamiliar forest combat setting. After capturing Fort William Henry, though, he is powerless to prevent the Indian massacre of the English troops.
The commander of the British forces at Fort Edward.