This is a list of the characters that appear in the first section of “The Pilgrim's Progress”.
Christian is a man who lived in The City of Destruction (the world). One day, he reads The Book (the Bible) and is convinced that the city he lives in will be destroyed. He meets a man named Evangelist outside the city and is told to go to the Celestial City (heaven), where he will be able to live forever with the king.
He is persecuted for his faith at Vanity Fair but manages to get away.
Christian is offended by Mr. By-Ends because he only wants to follow Jesus if it is easy for him and suggests that everyone should do so.
He compares Mr. Hold-The-World, Mr. Money-Love, and Mr. Save-All to Pharisees who were religious only to profit from their religion.
Christian does not go to Demas' silver mine because he does not want to hinder his journey and because he heard that many people died in it.
He makes a mistake going off the right path in the Giant's Field, and pays for it by having to spend four days in Giant Despair's dungeon. Christian and Hopeful escape from the dungeon by using a key called Promise.
He saw the gates of the Celestial City from the top of Hill Clear and was heartened, continuing on his way.
Christian met Ignorance, whom he upbraided for not believing in Jesus and instead thinking that he can get to the Celestial City through works.
Evangelist is a man who tells people about the Celestial City and how to get there. He told Christian about it and sometimes helps him on his journey, telling him what dangers to avoid and where they are on his path.
Obstinate is a man sent by the City of Destruction to try to convince Christian to come back. He does not listen to the pilgrim's plea to come with him.
Pliant is another man sent to bring back Christian. He listens to Christian and comes with him until the Slough of Despond, where he turns back because of the seemingly insurmountable obstacle. He is easily convinced by Christian to go with him because of the rewards waiting in the Celestial City, but he turns back at the first obstacle.
Mr. Worldly Wiseman
Mr. Worldly Wiseman is a rich gentleman who lives in the village of Morality. He tried to convince Christian to come with him and settle in the village because it is cheap to live there, and good neighbors are all around. He is called that because he thinks that living by some rules will make him happy.
Goodwill is the gatekeeper at the Wicket Gate (the entrance to the path to the Celestial City). He helps Christian by opening the gate for him and dragging him in, telling the man that Beelzebub and his minions will shoot him if he stays at the gate too long. Goodwill also tells Christian where Interpreter's house is and takes him there himself. This character is named Goodwill because he wants to help Christian.
Interpreter represents the Holy Spirit. He helps Christian by showing him many wonderful things, like a picture of an evangelist; a fire that the Devil is trying to put out but cannot (the passion to reach the Celestial city); and a person who denied the Holy Spirit and is condemned. He shows Christian the picture of the evangelist so that he will not be fooled by people who are false evangelists.
These three Shining Ones (angels) give Christian new clothes, a scroll that will let him into the Celestial City, and the important information that his sins are forgiven.
Simple, Sloth, and Presumption
Simple, Sloth, and Presumption are three people whom Christian found napping by the side of the road. He tries to warn them of the danger of sleeping there, but they do not listen. Simple and Presumption are named that way because they think that nothing bad will happen to them if they sleep by the road, and Sloth is very lazy and does not want to continue going.
Formalist and Hypocrisy
Formalist and Hypocrisy are two people who jumped over the wall stopping people from entering the Holy Path unless they use the Wicket Gate. Christian tells them that what they are doing is wrong and everyone who tries to jump over the wall is trespassing. They ignore his words and when they arrive at the Hill of Difficulty try to go around it but die in the process. Formalist is named that way because he acts as if he was righteous but is not, and Hypocrisy is named that way because he tells other people to stop doing things that he is doing too. These two go together because formalists are usually also hypocrites.
Timorous and Mistrust
Timorous and Mistrust are two other pilgrims from the City of Destruction. They go back because they saw lions near the path and do not want to be eaten. Christian tells them that they will be more likely to die in the City than by lions. Timorous means afraid and Mistrust does not trust that God will help them pass this obstacle.
Watchful is the porter of the House Beautiful. He feeds the lions chained up at the gate and tells Christian that it is safe to come inside because the lions are tied up. He also calls the virgins to come and take care of Christian. Watchful is named that way because he is watchful at the gate and ready to help any pilgrim come inside.
Discretion, Prudence, Piety, and Charity
These are the virgins who live at the House Beautiful. They take care of Christian there and talk a lot with him. They also show him all the treasures in the house and read them to him out of the history books. Some treasure found in their house includes the weapons of some great Old Testament heroes, like David's slingshot and Samson's donkey jawbone. Before he sets out, these virgins equip Christian with armor, a sword, and a shield so that he could be safer on the way. These virgins represent the virtues that a Christian is given through the Holy Spirit.
Apollyon is a foul fiend (demon) who lives in the Valley of Despair. He is also the king of the City of Destruction. Apollyon tells Christian that he needs to go back since he is his king, and he demands it. Christian tells him that his loyalty lies with the King in the Celestial City, and this prompts Apollyon to fight him, losing the battle when Christian stabs him in the stomach. This is a picture of the spiritual battle that Christians are involved in.
The Two Men
The Two Men are pilgrims who turned back at the Valley of the Shadow of Death. They warn Christian about the dangers there and tell him to turn back if he values his life. These men represent people who are trying to make us turn back from persevering to reach Heaven.
Faithful is another pilgrim from the City of Destruction. He meets Christian at the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Faithful and Christian go on this journey together and become good friends. Faithful is named that way because he believes that he will make it to the Celestial City, and he believes in Jesus.
"I did not know him at first: but as he went by, I perceived the holes in his hands and in his side: Then I concluded that he was our Lord. So I went up the hill." (Faithful, describing how he met Jesus and what he did)
"I will talk of things heavenly, or things earthly; things moral, or things evangelical; things sacred, or things profane; things past, or things to come; things foreign, or things at home; things more essential, or things circumstantial: provided that all be done to our profit." (Talkative telling Faithful what he will talk about.)
Talkative is another person from the City of Destruction who professes to be a pilgrim. As his name suggests, he likes to talk a lot, and Christian tells him to leave because he was wasting their time with useless talk.
Judge Hate-Good is the judge in Vanity Fair. He is an unfair judge and hates Christian and Faithful because they do not approve of the townspeople worshiping Beelzebub, who was the prince of that town. He sentences Faithful to death because of that reason.
"Sirrah, sirrah, thou deservest to live no longer, but to be slain immediately upon the place; yet, that all men may see our gentleness towards thee, let us hear what thou, vile runagate, hast to say."- Judge Hate-Good to Faithful.
Envy, Superstition, and Pickthank
Envy, Superstition, and Pickthank are the people who accused Faithful before Judge Hate-Good. They say that Faithful hates Beelzebub, and he is dangerous to their faith and ought to be killed.
"My lord, this man, notwithstanding his plausible name, is one of the vilest men in our country; he neither regardeth prince nor people, law nor custom, but doeth all that he can to possess all men with certain of his disloyal notions, which he in the general calls principles of faith and holiness. And in particular, I heard him once myself affirm, that Christianity and the customs of our town of Vanity were diametrically opposite, and could not be reconciled. By which saying, my lord, he doth at once not only condemn all our laudable doings, but us in the doing of them."- Envy accusing Faithful to Judge Hate-Good.
The jury are a collection of Mr. Blindman, Mr. No-good, Mr. Malice, Mr. Love-lust, Mr. Live-loose, Mr. Heady, Mr. High-mind, Mr. Enmity, Mr. Liar, Mr. Cruelty, Mr. Hate-light, and Mr. Implacable, who are against Faithful and want to kill him for not living according to their standards (for example). They sentence him to death and carry out the punishment.
"I see clearly that this man is a heretic", Mr. Blindman, the foreman.
Mr By-Ends is a person from the town of Fair-Speech who likes religion when it goes in silver slippers (that is to say that he likes it when it is easy to follow and profitable). Christian rebukes him, saying that he should follow Jesus even if it is not profitable to do so.
"We are always most zealous when religion goes in his silver slippers; we love much to walk with him in the street, if the sun shines and the people applaud him." - Mr. By-Ends
Mr. Hold-The-World, Mr. Money-Love, and Mr. Save-All
Mr. Hold-The-World, Mr. Money-Love, and Mr. Save-All are three rich men who are friends of Mr. By-Ends. They are very successful at getting what they want, either by force, flattering, lying, or by putting on a guise of religion. In fact, they had been with Mr. By-Ends to a school which taught all of these things. Christian compares them to the Pharisees, who sought the same end.
"For my part, I like that religion best that will stand with the security of God’s good blessings unto us; for who can imagine, that is ruled by his reason, since God has bestowed upon us the good things of this life, but that he would have us keep them for his sake?"- Mr. Hold-The-World.
Demas is the owner of a silver mine at the Plain of Ease. He invites Christian and Faithful to come and make a profit mining silver. Christian compares him with a traitor because in the Bible, Demas abandoned Paul for earthly pleasures, and Christian did not want anything to do with him.
"Not I, said Christian: I have heard of this place before now, and how many there have been slain; and besides, that treasure is a snare to those that seek it, for it hindereth them in their pilgrimage."- Christian warning Hopeful of Demas' silver mine.
Vain-Confidence is a person who is confident that he can find a path in Giant Despair's field, but cannot do so and eventually falls in a pit and dies when it gets dark.
Despair is a giant living in his castle near the path to the Celestial City. He likes capturing pilgrims and taking them to his castle to kill them. Giant Despair finds the pilgrims sleeping in his field, so he takes them home to put them in his dungeon. He has fits if he is exposed too long to sunlight and in these fits cannot move.
"These, said he, were pilgrims, as you are, once, and they trespassed on my grounds, as you have done; and when I thought fit I tore them in pieces; and so within ten days I will do you."- Giant Despair threatening Christian and Hopeful.
The Four Shepherds
The Four shepherds are named Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere. They watch over the Lord's sheep in the Delectable Mountains and help pilgrims who come that way by telling them of the dangers in the mountains and what they mean. They also give Christian and Hopeful a looking-glass with which they can see the gates of the Celestial City.
"The Lord of these mountains hath given us a charge not to be forgetful to entertain strangers; therefore the good of the place is before you.." - The Shepherds.
Ignorance is a man from the country of Conceit who thinks that he can get into the Celestial City by works, not by believing in Jesus. Christian upbraids him for this, but he will not be convinced and continues on his path.
"I know my Lord’s will, and have been a good liver; I pay every man his own; I pray, fast, pay tithes, and give alms, and have left my country for whither I am going." - Ignorance, when Christian asks him what he has to show at the Gate so that it can be opened.
(to be continued)