The Return of the Native: Character Profiles
The Captain is the grandfather of Eustacia and before her marriage to Clym she lives with him at Mistover.
Christian Cantle is entrusted by Mrs Yeobright to take Thomasin and Clym their gift of money. He is described as naive and when Wildeve wins the money from him, Wildeve’s behavior may be perceived as all the more appalling.
The eponymous hero of the novel is characterized by the expectations others have of him. Because of his earlier successful career in Paris, and because he escaped from the area, his mother and Eustacia are crestfallen when he decides to give this up to be a schoolmaster. His partial blindness that comes with studying too hard may be interpreted as a metaphor for his inability to see (as in understand) what is happening around him.
Wildeve marries Thomasin but is still in love with Eustacia. He is typified by his passion for the unattainable and is, therefore, never content. His name denotes his uncontrolled desires.
Venn is characterized by his altruism and by his unselfish love for Thomasin. This generous spirit is finally rewarded when he marries her after the death of Wildeve.
Eustacia is depicted as an independent and yet indecisive lover. As her grandfather says, her romantic notions are dangerous for her. She, like Wildeve, also feels confined by the heath that surrounds her and this may be interpreted as their joint distaste for living in the past and their love of modernity.
Johnny is a minor character but is of importance as he tells Clym his mother’s dying words and actions. His mother, Susan, considers Eustacia to be witch and attempts to punish her with traditional methods.
This is Clym’s mother and although she is often seen to speak in haste and anger, she is also protective of those she regards as being in her care.
Thomasin is the cousin of Clym and goes on to be the wife of Wildeve and then Venn. Unlike Eustacia and Wildeve, she resembles Clym in her love for the heath.
Fairway is one of many local ‘rustics’ who belong to the scenery of the heath and the fading past.