The House of the Seven Gables


  • Hepzibah Pyncheon – Hepzibah is an unmarried older woman, a descendant of the Pyncheon who built the house of the title. Though a member of the upper class, she is destitute. At the beginning of the novel, she has opened a cent-shop in the first floor of the house because of the financial ruin of her side of the family.
  • Holgrave – A daguerreotypist who boards at the house. He is, unbeknownst to any of the other characters, a descendant of the original Matthew Maule, who had been hanged as a witch at the instigation of the original Colonel Jaffrey Pyncheon in order to gain Maule's property. He falls in love with Phoebe.
  • Phoebe Pyncheon – Although a Pyncheon, she is from the country and not a member of the Salem aristocracy. She moves in with her Cousin Hepzibah and takes over the shop. Her cheerfulness and beauty make the shop a success and charm the reclusive Clifford, whom she serves as a kind of caretaker. Phoebe shows a willingness to work that is absent in Hepzibah and Clifford. She falls in love with Holgrave.
  • Alice Pyncheon – Alice is the haughty beauty whose ghost now haunts the House of The Seven Gables. Holgrave writes a story about Alice, which he reads to Phoebe. In Holgrave's story, Matthew Maule, grandson and namesake of the accused witch, is approached by Alice's greedy father, who wishes him to find some documents that he believes will make him rich. Maule demands the help of Alice and puts her into a hypnotic trance, supposedly to help locate the documents. In reality, Maule used his powers for selfish revenge against the family he saw as robbing him of his land. After awakening from her trance, Alice was subject at any time to Maule's commands. She sang, danced, and laughed like a madwoman in all manner of inappropriate situations, leaving no vestige of her pride. Alice eventually dies of sickness obtained by another of Maule's humiliating errands, and a mortified Maule realized too late that his petty desire for personal satisfaction had caused the needless death of a beautiful and refined young woman.
  • Colonel Pyncheon- The founder of the Pyncheon family, the colonel was cursed by Matthew Maule as he died saying “God will give him blood to drink!” The Colonel later died on the day that his new house was finished on the exact spot that Maule’s house had been.
  • Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon – He is a well-to-do judge and political aspirant who lives on a comfortable estate out of town. In appearance and character he so strongly resembles the "original" Colonel Pyncheon, who built the house, that some people mistake portraits of the ancestor for the descendant. In fact, he is just as vicious and unrelenting as his ancestor in his hunt for a lost land deed, the purported source of new wealth for the dissolute Pyncheon clan.
  • Matthew Maule- Original owner of the land where the house of seven gables is built. Colonel Pyncheon had him hung as a wizard to take over his property.
  • Clifford Pyncheon – Clifford is Hepzibah's elderly, nearly bed-ridden brother who comes to live in the house after being released from prison, where he was serving a sentence for the alleged murder of his uncle; as it turns out, he was framed by his own cousin, Jaffrey.
  • Uncle Venner – A jovial old man (older than Hepzibah) who is the only neighbor to the Pyncheons still in good standing with them.
  • Ned Higgins – A young precocious boy who drops by Hepzibah's cent shop every now and then to deplete her supply of gingerbread cookies.

This content is from Wikipedia. GradeSaver is providing this content as a courtesy until we can offer a professionally written study guide by one of our staff editors. We do not consider this content professional or citable. Please use your discretion when relying on it.