Tevye the Dairyman
by Sholem Aleichem
Character Role Analysis
Tevye really has a tendency to fly off the handle. Or sometimes to waft off into the clouds, concocting elaborate fantasies of what life might be like if he had a lot of money. Or disappearing into piles of quotations from the Torah and sayings from midrash instead of dealing with the situation at hand.
And who is around to pull his head out of his navel—or out of his behind—in those moments? Why, practical, down-to-earth Golde, that's who. She's always hand-waving away Tevye's flights of fancy and reminding him that midrash is all well and good but it doesn't exactly get their daughters married off: "Who cares about a midrash? […] We have a daughter to marry off, and after that daughter, kayn eyn horeh, there are two more, and after the two – three more, may no evil eye befall them!" (5.3).