What are the most unusual characters in famous novels?

Uriah Heep from David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

“I am well aware that I am the umblest person going,” said Uriah Heep modestly, “let the other be where he may. My mother is likewise a very umble person. We live in an umble abode, Master Copperfield, but have much to be thankful for. My father’s former calling was umble; he was a sexton.”

His name has become synonymous with sycophancy.

Captain Ahab from Moby Dick Charles Melville

“Human madness is oftentimes a cunning and most feline thing. When you think it fled, it may have but become transfigured into some still subtler form.”

“All my means are sane, my motive and my object mad.”

“Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents’ beds, unerringly I rush! Naught’s an obstacle, naught’s an angle to the iron way!”

(From his object mad I extracted the question “Who is your white whale?”, question I ask my customers.)

Miss Havisham from Great Expectations Charles Dickens (a forger of astounding characters)

“I stole her heart away and put ice in its place.”

“Break their hearts my pride and hope, break their hearts and have no mercy.”

I’ll tell you,” said she, in the same hurried passionate whisper, “what real love it. It is blind devotion, unquestioning self-humiliation, utter submission, trust and belief against yourself and against the whole world, giving up your whole heart and soul to the smiter – as I did!”

“Love her, love her, love her! If she favours you, love her. If she wounds you, love her. If she tears your heart to pieces – and as it gets older and stronger, it will tear deeper – love her, love her, love her!”

Berenice from Berenice – short story by Edgar Allan Poe

“Berenice and I were cousins, and we grew up together in my paternal halls. Yet differently we grew –I ill of health, and buried in gloom –she agile, graceful, and overflowing with energy; hers the ramble on the hill-side –mine the studies of the cloister –I living within my own heart, and addicted body and soul to the most intense and painful meditation –she roaming carelessly through life with no thought of the shadows in her path, or the silent flight of the raven-winged hours. Berenice! –I call upon her name –Berenice! –and from the gray ruins of memory a thousand tumultuous recollections are startled at the sound! Ah! vividly is her image before me now, as in the early days of her light-heartedness and joy! Oh! gorgeous yet fantastic beauty! Oh! sylph amid the shrubberies of Arnheim! –Oh! Naiad among its fountains! –and then –then all is mystery and terror, and a tale which should not be told.”

Art – Uriah Heep by Fred Barnard

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