Character Sketch of The Dear Departed


1. Mrs. Amelia Slater

She is the most important characters of the play. She is the wife of Henry Slater. Her real name is Amelia. She has a ten years old daughter, Victoria. She is the daughter of Abel Merry weather. She is a vigorous, plump, red-faces vulgar woman, prepared to do any amount of straight talking to get her own way. She is in black; but not in complete black.

Extremely Greedy:
She is an extremely woman. She does not wait for the arrival of her sister and the confirmation of Grandpa’s death. She brings down Grandpa’s valuable bureau and handsome clock with the help of her husband. Though her father is lying dead in his bed-room, yet she is not at all, affected by this great loss. She tells her husband to wear new slippers of her father. She enters into discussion with her sister and others about Grandpa’s payment of insurance, gold watch and other valuable items.

She is an extremely negligent woman. Her father resides in her house but she does not look after him. She does not send for a doctor to examine him and prescribe some treatment or confirm his death. She tells her husband to send a telegram to her sister and brother-in-law for attending the funeral rites.

She tells her husband that her heart is fit to break when she sees the little trifles that belonged to Grand-father lying around and thinks he will never use them again. N the same breath she tells her husband to wear his new slippers, bring down his bureau and his handsome clock before the arrival of her sister. She furtively inspects the new mourning of her sister and sniffs back a tear to show that she is grieved.

Her behaviour:
She has no love for her father. She has been unwillingly accommodating him for three years. She is a quarrelsome woman. She is rude to everybody.


She is the wife of Ben Jordan, sister of Amelia and the daughter of Grandpa, Able Merry weather. She is stout, complacent woman with an impressive face and irritating air of being always right. She is wearing a complete and deadly outfit of new mourning, crowned by a great black hat with plumes. She has a son named Jummy

Greedy and Selfish:
Mrs. Jordan is as selfish and greedy as her sister. She has no real love for her father. She is not grieved at the death of her father. She has come to have her share of the things left by her father. She is worried about the payment of the premium of her father’s insurance policy. She wants to have his gold watch for her son, Jimmy.

Sensible and Practical:
She is very sensible and practical woman. She asks her sister to tell them all about her father’s death. Then she asks her sister whether she sent for the doctor at once. On hearing that Dr. Pingle   was out, she says that she should have called another doctor because many persons have restored to life hours after they were thought to be gone. Then she asks whether the premium has been paid or not. She ways that after tea they will look through the bits of things and make a list of them. When Mrs. Slater tells a lie to Grandpa that they were mourning the death of Ben’s brother. She at once says that Ben has no brother. She also rebukes her sister for stealing the bureau and clock of Grandpa.

She is as cunning and liar as her sister. She is not on good terms with her sister. She turned Grandpa out of her house three years ago, yet she comes to attend the funeral ceremony. She tells Grandpa that Mrs. and Mr. Slater have stolen his bureau and clock. This statement turns Grandpa against Slater. She offers her father to live with them and promises to make him very comfortable. When Henry advises his to arrange with Elizabeth when she is dividing things up. She responds that will drive a hard bargain over it. It shows she is a cunning and non-compromising woman.


Henry Slater is the husband of Amelia, father of Victoria and the son-in-law of Abel Merry weather. He is a stooping, heavy man with a drooping moustache. He is wearing a black tail coat, grey trouser, a black tie, and a hat. He is in half mourning.

He has no say, no way and no will. He takes dictation from his wife. He wears new slippers of his dead father-in-law when directed by his wife. By nature he is not very bad. He sends a telegram to Elizabeth and Jordan to attend the funeral rites of Grandpa. Though he is not selfish and greedy, yet compelled by his wife, hides some precious things of Grandpa before the arrival of her sister. He helps his wife in carrying down the bureaus and taking upstairs the chest of drawers. He is much ashamed when Grandpa sees him wearing his slippers. He supports all the greed acts of his wife.

Careful Person:
He is a very careful person. When his wife tells him to bring the bureau down, he says suppose Elizabeth and her husband, com Because of this warning, Amelia fastens the front door. He also suggests her to exchange the bureaus with their chest of drawers.


Ben Jordan is the husband of Elizabeth, father, of Jimmy, and the son-in-law of Grandfather. He is in complete new mourning, with black gloves and a band round his hat. He is rather a jolly little man, accustomed to be humorous, but at present trying to adapt himself to the regrettable occasion. He has a bright, chirpy little voice.

He is a very diplomatic person. He tries to find out some important information. He analysis the issue to Grandfather’s payment of premium on his insurance policy and asks to find out the receipt if the payment is made. He tries to find out the weak points of the other. Family and proves himself to be innocent. He laughs on several occasions to prove that others are not so wise as he is. He never misses a chance to criticize others. The calls Grandpa: “the drunken old beggar”. But when Grandpa gets up, he becomes polite towards him and repeatedly enquires about his health. He remarks about the stolen bureau that it was second hand, He always his wife. He tells Grandpa that he has to live with one of his daughter. He offers him to live with them and promises to take care of him.


Victoria is the daughter of Mrs. and Mr. Slater and grand-daughter of Mr. Abel Merry weather. She is a precocious girl of ten.

Simple and innocent:
She is an innocent and simple girl. When the play opens, she is gallivanting in the street, unconscious of the fact that her Grandpa is lying dead and cold upstairs. She is unable to understand all that is going on in the house. She goes upstairs to take the bunch of keys per instruction of her mother. When she comes back she is scared and exclaims emotionally that Grandpa is getting up. She fails to understand the trick of her parents. She simply calls it stealing. When Mrs. Slater say that Grandpa went out for depositing the premium. Victoria tells her at once that he did not go into town this mourning.

Loves Grandpa:
Victoria has great love for her Grandfather. When the old man enters the room and sits in an armchair, everyone is unhappy. Only Victoria is happy to see his Grandpa alive. She sits on the floor at his feet.

Very Obedient:
She is very obedient. When her mother forbids her to move about in the street and change her dress, she at once puts on her white frock with a black sash. She remains quiet and does not open the door while her parents are shifting the table from the old man’s bed-room. She keeps the secret of her parents to herself. Although she fears and hesitates entering the bedroom of Grandpa, yet she obeys her mother and goes upstairs to fetch the bunch of keys.

She is very intelligent. When her parents bring down the bureau of Grandpa, she at once understands that they are stealing. She asks her mother why she is doing so. She observes everything but keeps her mouth shut. When her mother and aunt are quarreling, she does not interrupt.


Abel Merry weather is the father of Elizabeth and Amelia. He is clad in a faded but gay dressing gown. He is wearing stockings. Although he is over seventy yet he is healthy. He bright, malicious eyes twinkle under the heavy reddish-grey eyebrows.

He is a homeless person. He first lives with his daughter, Elizabeth and then resides with his other daughter, Amelia. He is neglected by both of them. Ben calls him “The drunken old beggar. His daughters think him a burden and do not want to keep him with them.”

He is drunkard. One night he drinks Mrs. Slater thinks he is dead. Everybody is in mourning when he gets up.

He is humorous fellow. He is loving a carefree life. He talks in funny ways. He always takes things lightly. At the end of the play. He extends an invitation to both of his daughters and both of his sons-in-law to attend his marriage ceremony.

Hs is a romantic fellow. He has the ability to fall in love and marry a widow at the age of seventy-two. He is a jolly old fellow and goes to the Ring-o-Bells which is a public place.

A Wise Man:
He knows that neither of his daughters wants to keep him in her house. They are only after his things. That is why he decides to change his will, get married to a widow who keep a public place. In they way, he wants to punish his mean and greedy daughters by depriving them of what he will leave after him. He enjoys at the cost of the confusion of his daughters and sons-in-law by putting ridiculous questions and passing funny remarks. He decides to pay the premium.

Loving Grandpa:
He loves his granddaughter, Victoria and grandson, Jimmy from the core of his heart. He has promised to give his gold watch to Jimmy. When the gets up Victoria sits on the floor at his feet.

A Glutton:
He goes on eating while the others look at him with surprise. At the end of the play, he is busy in eating when his daughters are exposed. I think he believes in epicurean way of life, i.e. “Eat drink and be marry.”

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