Far from the Madding Crowd: Character Profiles

Character Profiles

The Aged MalsterThe aged maltster, head of the Smallbury family, presides at the malthouse.

Mr. AldritchMr. Aldritch is the surgeon who confirms Troy’s death and tends to Bathsheba after her collapse.

Cain (Cainy) BallCain (Cainy) Ball is a young man whom Oak trains as a shepherd. His mother meant to name him after the Biblical character Abel but in confusion gave him the name of Abel’s fratricidal brother instead, to her lasting regret. His nickname, Cainy, is an attempt to distance him from the name and its painful associations.

William BoldwoodWilliam Boldwood one of the four major characters of the novel, is a gentleman farmer at Little Weatherbury. In his forties, he is handsome, wealthy, and single. He is one of the three men who fall in love with Bathsheba.

Mark ClarkMark Clark is one of Bathsheba’s laborers—a minor character whose comic distinction is that he always tries to get others to pay his way, especially at the malthouse.

Jan CogganJan Coggan is among the more important of Bathsheba’s laborers. He becomes a confidante to Oak as well.

Mrs. CogganMrs. Coggan is Bathsheba’s able housekeeper.

Bathsheba EverdeenBathsheba Everdeen is one of the novel’s four main characters. A vivacious and intelligent young woman, she is also beautiful and vain about her beauty. She inspires the love of three men—Oak, Boldwood, and Troy—and this love drives the novel’s conflicts. Bathsheba inherits her uncle’s farm in Weatherbury and employs many of the villagers.

Henery (Henry) FrayHenery (Henry) Fray is one of Bathsheba’s laborers, a “man of bitter moods” who is quick to see the worst in circumstances.

Mrs. HurstMrs. Hurst is Bathsheba’s aunt who lives at Norcombe.

Temperance and Soberness MillerTemperance and Soberness Miller are sisters who work in Bathsheba’s house.

Maryann MoneyMaryann Money is Bathsheba’s charwoman.

Matthew MoonMatthew Moon is one of the Weatherbury citizens who works for Bathsheba.

Gabriel OakGabriel Oak is one of the novel’s four main characters. A capable, intelligent farmer and shepherd, he is also resilient and compassionate. Oak has an affinity for the natural world and an ability to interpret its signs usefully; he also reads human natures accurately.

PennywaysPennyways is the bailiff whom Bathsheba fires after he steals barley.

Joseph PoorgrassJoseph Poorgrass is one of Bathsheba’s laborers, a deeply shy man “who habitually spoke on a large scale in his moral reflections.”

Andrew RandleAndrew Randle, who stammers, is one of Bathsheba’s farm laborers.

Fanny RobinFanny Robin is a young servant in Bathsheba’s employ and the unwed mother of Sergeant Troy’s baby, with whom she dies after childbirth.

Sam SamwaySam Samway is one of Boldwood’s farmhands.Bill (Billy) SmallburyBill (Billy) Smallbury is one of Bathsheba’s laborers at Weatherbury.

Liddy (Lydia) SmallburyLiddy (Lydia) Smallbury of the Smallbury family, is Bathsheba’s primary maidservant and gradually becomes her mistress’s friend and confidante as well. Hardy describes her as a “prominent advertisement of the light-hearted English country girl.”

Laban and Susan TallLaban and Susan Tall are citizens of Weatherbury; Laban works for Bathsheba.

Sergeant Frank (Francis) TroySergeant Frank (Francis) Troy, one of the novel’s main characters, is the educated son of an Englishman and a Frenchwoman. Selfish and interested only in present pleasures, Troy is also charming, handsome, and persuasive, at least among women.