Lord Jim

Characters

  • Marlow: Sea captain in the merchant service of the British Empire who helps Jim after his fall from grace, trying to understand how "one of us" could lack the bravery and judgment expected of seamen. Marlow is also the narrator of three of Conrad's other works: Heart of Darkness, Youth, and Chance.
  • Jim: Young parson's son who takes to the sea, training for the merchant service as steam ships mix with sailing ships. He dreams of heroic deeds. He is a strong, tall, blond Englishman whose life is the story told by Marlow.
  • Captain Gustav: Captain of the Patna, an Australian born in Germany, who is interested in the money made from this ship, with no concern for his honour as a captain. He is a man of huge girth. He orders the engineers to free a boat for them to leave the ship. After learning ashore that the ship came in ahead of them, he knows his certificate will be cancelled and he leaves, never seen again.
  • Ship's engineers: Three men who keep the steam boiler working; one is George, who dies of a heart attack on the Patna as the others leave the ship. Another shows up later by chance at the same place where Jim is living, driving Jim away. The third becomes completely drunk, left in the hospital.
  • Montague Brierly: Captain in the merchant service with a perfect reputation. He sits in the court that hears the case of the Patna crew, telling Marlow that Jim ought to hide somewhere, as he can never work as a seaman again. A few days after the trial, this superior man ("indeed, had you been Emperor of East and West, you could not have ignored your inferiority in his presence", Chapter 6) kills himself by jumping off his ship at sea, leaving no explanation.
  • Stein: Head of Stein & Co., friend of Marlow, and a man with a long, interesting life. He has had success in trade in the East, collecting produce from various ports in the Dutch colonial areas and settling far from his native Bavaria after losing in the uprisings of 1848. He learned botany and natural philosophy, which became his passionate hobby, gaining him a reputation for all the specimens he sent to contacts in Europe in this age of scientific discovery. He was married and had a child, both lost to him by disease. He understands Jim's temperament instantly.
  • Jewel: Daughter of a Dutch-Malay woman and a white European man, never named, who deserted them. Her stepfather is Cornelius. Her mother died a year or two before she meets Jim.
  • Cornelius: Former factor for Stein & Co., on account of his wife, whom Stein admired. He is a lazy man of no morals, and brutal. He is Malacca Portuguese. When replaced by Jim, he does not leave the area, nor does he find any useful occupation for himself. He connives with the marauder Brown to kill Jim, which happens indirectly when Brown's men spontaneously kills Dain Waris. Cornelius is killed by Tamb' Itam, who sees him after the attack and realizes the role he played.
  • De Jongh: Friend to Marlow, and the last of the ship's chandlers who accepts Jim on Marlow's recommendation.
  • Doramin: Old chief of the Bugis people in Patusan and father of Dain Waris, his only son. He was a friend to Stein, and the two exchanged gifts on parting: Doramin gave a ring to Stein, and Stein gave pistols to Doramin. He becomes an ally to Jim.
  • Dain Waris: The only son of Doramin; a young, strong, and fiercely devoted leader of his people. He becomes fast friends with Jim.
  • Sherif Ali: Local bandit who is a trial to all others in Patusan, extorting fees and stealing crops and resources from others. He is defeated by Jim, but not killed.
  • Rajah Tunku Allang: Malay chief in Patusan who took Jim prisoner on his first entry into the country. Jim escapes, starting life there on his own terms.
  • Tamb' Itam: Malay servant and loyal bodyguard to Jim.
  • Captain Brown: A cruel captain of a latter-day pirate crew, who kills because he can, and is not a success in life. He has a ship in poor condition and a crew of men similar to him when he runs short of food near Patusan. He goes up the river to the village, which successfully forces him to retreat to a nearby hilltop. On leaving, Brown orders a vengeful attack on Patusan's defenders, killing Dain Waris, which leads to the end of Jim's life. Marlow meets Brown in a hospital just before his death, and hears the story of the encounter from Brown's viewpoint.

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