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Characters

Meet the Cast

Colonel Pyncheon

We don't see much of old Colonel Pyncheon. He only appears physically in the first chapter (unless you count his portrait and ghostly manifestations, which we talk about in "Symbolism, Imagery, All...

Matthew Maule

Matthew Maule is much harder to pin down than his nemesis, Colonel Pyncheon. We really don't know much about him except that he is a carpenter and he's stubborn as a mule. He has a small patch of l...

Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon

It's obvious from Judge Pyncheon's first appearance in the novel that he is his ancestor Colonel Pyncheon reborn. Hepzibah sees it, Clifford sees it, even Mr. Holgrave's camera sees it. Sure, there...

Clifford Pyncheon

Clifford Pyncheon is Hepzibah's brother and Judge Pyncheon's cousin. He's the poor sap who Judge Pyncheon framed for murder 30 years before the events of the novel. There is definitely a before-and...

Hepzibah Pyncheon

If Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon is a jerk who looks like a nice guy, his cousin Hepzibah is the opposite: she looks mean but she has a heart of gold. Where Judge Pyncheon's most recognizable characterist...

Phoebe Pyncheon

Phoebe is a country cousin of Hepzibah and Clifford. She's the daughter of someone named Arthur (a brother of Hepzibah and Clifford's, maybe?). So she's a Pyncheon, but she's been raised blissfully...

Mr. Holgrave

Mr. Holgrave is a daguerreotypist, which means that he takes photographs. (Daguerreotypes were an early form of photograph mainly used for portraits.) It makes sense that Mr. Holgrave would have a...

Uncle Venner

Uncle Venner does odd jobs around the Pyncheon Street neighborhood. He also comes every Sunday to visit Clifford, Hepzibah, Phoebe, and Mr. Holgrave in the garden of the House of the Seven Gables....

Alice Pyncheon

In many ways Alice Pyncheon is Phoebe's double in the Pyncheon family history. She is a lovely young girl, the great-granddaughter of Colonel Pyncheon, who does her best to cheer up the gloomy Hous...

Gervayse Pyncheon

Gervayse Pyncheon is the grandson of Colonel Pyncheon, whom Gervayse discovered dead at the housewarming party for the House of the Seven Gables. After this traumatizing event, Gervayse Pyncheon ta...

Matthew Maule II

We call this character Matthew Maule II to distinguish him from his grandfather, but really, they're both Matthew Maules: they both share the same angry, vengeful spirit. It's not just the Pyncheon...

Scipio

Scipio is Gervayse Pyncheon's black servant and a blatantly racist stereotype. He is the only character in the novel who speaks with a marked accent – he says things like, "Don't know what massa...

Uncle Jaffrey Pyncheon

Over a hundred years after Colonel Pyncheon's sudden death, the then-head of the Pyncheon family starts to feel guilty about the whole Matthew Maule thing. He decides the Pyncheon family legacy is...

Thomas Maule

Thomas Maule is Matthew Maule's son. Even though his father has been executed as a result of Colonel Pyncheon, Thomas Maule shows no sign of resentment. In fact, he willingly takes on the job of bu...

The Lieutenant Governor

This representative of King William III is supposed to attend Colonel Pyncheon's housewarming party. His presence at Colonel Pyncheon's house demonstrates what a bigwig Colonel Pyncheon is in the M...

Mr. Higginson

Mr. Higginson is a Puritan clergyman who writes a highly complimentary eulogy for Colonel Pyncheon after his death. The narrator pretends to think that these nice words from a Puritan clergyman pro...

John Swinnerton

John Swinnerton was a real-life Salem doctor in the late 17th century. His presence in the novel is another instance of Hawthorne's fondness for mixing real people into fictional situations. (For o...

Ned Higgins

Ned Higgins is a local neighborhood boy who gets into the novel for only one reason: he is the first customer at Hepzibah's dusty little store. In a sequence of several chapters, Ned Higgins buys a...

The Shopkeeper

The shopkeeper is a Pyncheon ancestor from about a century before who "found himself involved in serious financial difficulties" (1.36). He tried to get himself out of these difficulties by convert...

Dixey

Dixey is one of a pair of gossipy men who frequently pass by the House of the Seven Gables. At different points in the novel, Dixey predicts that Hepzibah's shop is going to fail (wrong) and also t...

Chanticleer

Chanticleer is a traditional name for a rooster in medieval fables. This particular Chanticleer hangs around the garden of the House of the Seven Gables providing comic relief for Phoebe to pass on...

The Man on the Train

When Clifford is feeling his first thrill of freedom after the sudden death of Judge Pyncheon, he drags Hepzibah to a train so that they can go...anywhere. Up until this moment, Clifford has always...

Mrs. Gubbins

Mrs. Gubbins is a furious housewife who hammers on Hepzibah's shop door the morning after Clifford and Hepzibah run to the train station to escape Judge Pyncheon's corpse. She is the first one to a...

The Italian Man With the Barrel-Organ

Clifford and Mr. Holgrave both talk big about the advantages of not having a home, but the Italian man who plays his barrel organ on Pyncheon Street really doesn't have one. He is far from his coun...

Grimalkin

A grimalkin is a house cat, generally but not always female. Grimalkins are often the familiars of witches, so the presence of this particular cat (especially with Matthew Maule as context) brings...
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