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Tevye the Dairyman

Tevye the Dairyman


Sholem Aleichem

 Table of Contents

Tevye the Dairyman Characters

Meet the Cast


Tevye is our narrator. He's funny ("We have here a new philosopher, fresh from the oven!" [6.38]); he's talkative ("but now I think I've gone on too long" [2.116]); and he's a small-time dairy deli...

Tzeitl & Motl

Tevye's oldest daughter sets the example for the rest of her sisters by rejecting a wealthy but yucky arranged marriage in favor of a poor local tailor that she loves. Here we have the best-case s...

Hodl & Perchik

Next up is Hodl, who sees Tzeitl's little rebellion and raises it. She rejects an arranged match to marry a poor and somewhat mysterious student, who turns out to be a bit player in one of the ongo...

Chava & Chvedka

Chava is the third to go—and boy, does she go. She ups the stakes—really, she pulls up the stakes entirely—by rejecting her family and culture to marry a non-Jewish man named Chvedka. When w...

Shprintze & Ahronchik

Poor Shprintze. Talk about falling in love with the wrong guy. At least one thing about an arranged match is that you usually don't want to kill yourself if it falls through.Chava, Tzeitl, and Hodl...

Beilke & Podhotsur

We're down to the last daughter, and she's a smart girl, because she's learned from example. No poverty, exile, disinheritance, or drowning for her. No way. She's going to marry the rich contractor...


Golde is the perfect yin to Tevye's yang. He is given to flights of fancy, to quoting at length from midrash and scripture, and to building castles in the clouds imagining himself as a wealthy and...

Ivan Poperilo

What's really scary about Ivan, the Gentile village mayor, is that he manages to be both a reasonable neighbor and a violent, destructive thug. When he comes to rough up Tevye's house, and Tevye is...


Okay, this guy is pretty much just a straight-up comic figure. He is as stereotypical a stereotype as this set of stories ever produces. He spins Tevye a story about basically using magic to turn h...


Lazer-Wolf is pretty much just here for comic relief. He is so old, low-class, and grubby that he could never really be a viable match for the pretty and educated Tzeitl. It would be like marrying...
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