Poems of W.B. Yeats: The Tower Characters
HanrahanHanrahan is the peasant "everyman" created by the speaker. He is lame, unable to work, and fatally addicted to drink. These characteristics were typical of Irish peasants at the time that Yeats wrote this collection, although the lameness was more often metaphysical, in the face of British oppression.
TheophilusTheophilus once ruled the Byzantine Empire. He was famous for having mechanical birds fashioned out of metal, which sang to his courtesans.
PlatoPlato was a Greek philosopher who believed that everything has an ideal form. Each man (or chair) is merely an expression of the perfect man (or chair).
PlotinusPlotinus was a student of Plato's, who was influential in spreading the latter's teachings.
Mrs. FrenchMrs. French is a wealthy Irishwoman, a member of the Protestant Ascendancy (French is patently not a Catholic name). Her manservant cut off the ears of a farmer, thinking it would please her.
Edmund BurkeEdmund Burke was a famous liberal who tried desperately to solve the "Irish Question" by advocating for some measure of self-rule for the Irish in the British Parliament. He was unsuccessful in doing so.
Henry GrattanHenry Grattan was a famous figure in the effort for Irish emancipation. He served in the Irish House of Commons in the late 18th century. Called "Grattan's Parliament," it was Ireland's last Home Rule until independence.
JunoA major Roman goddess, called Hera by the Greeks, Juno was the queen of all the gods.
ChaucerGeoffrey Chaucer was a poet who lived in 14th-century England. He was most popular for his bawdy Canterbury Tales.
IrregularA member of the IRA.
Jacques de MolayLeader of the Knights Templar in 14th-century France. He was buried at the stake as part of the Inquisition.
PhidiasPhidias was an ancient Greek sculptor whose works are considered among the best Classical sculptures.
Loie FullerLoie Fuller was an American based in Paris during the 20th century. She invented many modern dance forms and patented stage lighting techniques.
SatoSato is the most common Japanese last name. "Sato's house" is used by Yeats to describe Japan.
FalstaffA fat knight that appears as a comic character in several of Shakespeare's plays. He is Prince Hal's sidekick.
HerodiasHerodias was a real Jewish queen. In the gospels, she uses her daughter Salome's dance as leverage to ask for the head of John the Baptist.
Lady KytelerLady Alice Kyteler was accused in the 14th century of the murder of her husbands and of having sex with demons. She fled from Ireland to England.
Robert ArtissonRobert Artisson is said to be the name of one of the demons Lady Kyteler had sex with.
MichaelMichael is the name of the speaker's infant son in "A Prayer for My Son."
DionysusDionysus (also known as Bacchus) was the Roman god of wine and merriment.
LockeJohn Locke was a Scottish Enlightenment thinker who advocated for democracy.
LedaLeda was a Spartan queen who was the mother of Helen of Troy, who precipitated the Trojan War. In mythology, Leda is raped by Zeus in the guise of a swan.
AgamemnonAgamemnon was the Greek hero who launched the attack on Troy. He was in love with Helen of Troy.
Edmund DulacDulac was a French illustrator who was a contemporary of Yeats'.
Owen AherneOwen Aherne was a member of the same theosophical circle that Yeats belonged to. He also appears as a character in Yeats' The Vision, which deals more directly with theosophy.
HectorHector was the Trojan prince who led the defense against Agamemnon during the Trojan War. He was reluctant to fight at all.
MadgeMadge is a friend whom the poet watches go mad in her old age. She wraps a rock up in a cloak and sings to it as if it were a child.
PeterPeter is an old friend of the poet's whom he watches go mad. He stands on a stone and crows like a peacock.
Poems of W.B. Yeats: The Tower Essays and Related Content
- Poems of W.B. Yeats: The Tower: Major Themes
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- Poems of W.B. Yeats: The Tower Summary
- About Poems of W.B. Yeats: The Tower
- Character List
- Glossary of Terms
- Major Themes
- Summary and Analysis of Sailing to Byzantium
- Summary and Analysis of The Tower
- Summary and Analysis of Meditations in Time of Civil War
- Summary and Analysis of Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen
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- Summary and Analysis of Two Songs from a Play
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- Summary and Analysis of On a Picture of a Black Centaur by Edmund Dulac
- Summary and Analysis of Among School Children
- Summary and Analysis of Oedipus at Colonus
- Summary and Analysis of Wisdom
- Summary and Analysis of The Fool By the Roadside
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- Summary and Analysis of A Man Young and Old
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- Summary and Analysis of All Souls' Night
- The Anglo-Irish War and the Irish Civil War
- Related Links on Poems of W.B. Yeats: The Tower
- Suggested Essay Questions
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 1
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 2
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 3
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 4
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