A Brief glance at the characters in The Invisible Man
1.Griffin – An albino and a crazy scientist. He looks like an alien creature just arrived from outer space. There is something grotesque about him, rather like a person wearing a diving helmet, and the huge goggles he wears make him look outlandish. He has one goal in life, and that is “to show to the world” what he is and what he is capable of. He is incapable of maintaining human relationships. He is unemotional and does not feel sorry when his father commits suicide (after he had robbed him). He had a girl whom he liked, but then his habit of finding fault in everyone made her look inferior and full of faults. He is a scientist who is driven by a desire to take revenge on the world for not recognising him and for perceived slights. He is a-social (as he doesn’t want to mix with society) and keeps odd timings in Iping. Griffin is also anti-social and has a strong desire to destroy the world. His ultimate goal is to rule the world with an iron fist. For Griffin, Science is a tool for teaching humanity a lesson and not for its benefit.
2.Dr Kemp happens to be a counterfoil to Griffin. Unlike Griffin, he is a romantic scientist; he is someone who can appreciate the beauty of the setting sun. His biggest ambition is to become a fellow of the Royal Society. Dr Kemp is a person who will not take anything at face value. He listens to Griffin’s account about himself carefully, he asks him a lot of questions and gets the answers from Griffin that are convincing enough. However, Dr Kemp decides to check the newspapers before alerting Colonel Adye. to He wants to study and use science for the betterment of the society. Dr.Kemp cares about humanity. He is anthropomorphic in nature. He is a shrewd observer and suggests a few valuable steps be taken to secure Griffin at Port Stowe. He is a brave man who finally uses himself as a bait to draw Griffin into a street where his escape can be cut off by a group of labourers. It is clear that Dr Kemp is not interested in ruling over the world, rather he is more interested in saving it from a mad man like Griffin. Dr Kemp can also be called a brave man even when he is thought otherwise by the policemen at his house when they see him climbing out of the window after the maid.
3.Mrs Hall is a shrewd businesswoman who runs the Coach and Horses Inn with a tight fist. She is glad to have Griffin come in the month of February and rushes about to serve him food herself. She is level-headed and more mature than her husband. She treats Griffin very nicely when he asks for lodging at the Coach and Horses and even looks into his comfort herself. She cooks for him, lays the table and serves him meals, all because she is interested in the money she can make from him. Mrs Hall becomes rather angry when the source of her income in the winter season seems to dry up. She serves him a bill on the breakfast tray and this is what angers the hungry Griffin. She can be harsh and caustic at times, especially when she scolds her husband.
4.Mr Hall is a foil to Mrs Hall, he seems to be less business minded than his wife. He is a dim- witted man who loves to have his pint of ale. Like all the rustic characters in the novel, he makes it a point to know what others are doing, he is too inquisitive. His dim-wittedness reaches a high point when Mrs Hall catches Teddy Henfrey and him listening at the parlour door while Griffin was roughing up Vicar Bunting and Mr Cuss, and she shouts at them, “Ain’t you nothin’ better to do—busy day like this?” There is a rather comical quality about his stupidity. Mr Hall has, perhaps no other role in the novel besides being Mrs Hall’s husband. Needless to say, he is the henpecked husband who is constantly being reprimanded and scolded for having little to do. The confrontations between husband and wife take up comical proportions, especially when he tries to tell her about something going on in the parlour in chapter twelve and thirteen.
5.Teddy Henfrey - like all the rustic characters, the residents of Iping, he is a gossip monger, a nosey parker who makes it a point to linger on in the parlour with the excuse of getting to know Griffin more. Griffin catches on to his game and tells him to get on with his work and not waste his time. In spite of being the typical dim-witted rustic, countryside character, he however, comes up with the strong feeling that Griffin is on the run from the law, and he expresses his strong belief that there is more to Griffin than meets the eye to Mr Hall.
6.Mr Cuss is the general practitioner of Iping village. His professional jealousy is aroused when he sees the number of bottles and flasks belonging to Griffin arriving at the Inn. He makes a daring plan to visit Griffin to know more about him. At the end of the meeting, Mr Cuss is more frightened than ever at not been able Griffin’s hand inside the sleeve. He runs to Vicar Bunting to tell him everything. Like all the other rustic characters, he has the habit of poking his nose into everyone’s affairs. Like all the other rustic characters, Mr Cuss is averse to any kind of change, which is why he views the arrival of all the bottles and flasks with suspicion.
7.Mr and Mrs Bunting are the typical small town church priest and his wife. Mr Bunting is the stereotypical church priest, frugal in nature, (the quality of the wine is poor) and he keeps some money in the office desk, housekeeping money as he calls it. He is also the typically highly educated man, who, because of his superior knowledge of Latin and Greek is supposed to be able to decipher the symbols in Griffin’s diaries. Unfortunately, he is not able to understand what has been written in the diaries. Mr. Bunting has a tough time when Mr Cuss suggests he should decipher what is written in the diaries. It has been a long time since he last read Greek and now he is expected to read Greek! Moreover, the Invisible Man used Greek symbols for Mathematical equations, the diaries could be deciphered only by a scientist, and certainly not a church vicar! He is level headed and supposedly someone that Mr Cuss can confide in about the strange experience he had while interviewing Griffin. His wife Mrs Bunting is devoted to him. She hears the footsteps of Griffin breaking into the vicarage, but then she doesn’t rush to wake up Revd. Bunting before making very sure that she is not hearing imaginary things. She wakes Revd. Bunting and stays with him all the way to the study where the house keeping money has been kept. Mr and Mrs Bunting offer a contrast to Mrs and Mr Hall in terms of the kind of relationship they have as husband and wife. The Buntings are more at ease with each other, they are more compatible with each other than the Halls.
8.Miscellaneous rustic characters: Mr Gould is the probationary assistant in the National school. He believes that Griffin is an anarchist out to blow something in an explosion. Mr Fearenside is the driver of the cart that brings Griffin’s bottles and flasks from the railway station. He spreads the piebald theory about Griffin. This is because he had been able to see the inside of the lower portion of Griffin’s leg when his dog bit him. He thought he had seen a patch. He believes that Griffin would be an ideal exhibit at a circus. Mr Sandy Wadgers is the village blacksmith, and he is called for after the incident of the flying furniture because he is a ‘knowing man…and very resourceful.’ When he arrives at the Coach and Horses and listens to a description of the incident of the flying furniture, he believes that witchcraft had caused the furniture to fly around. Mr Huxter is the shopkeeper. He is also ‘The Anglo-Saxon genius for parliamentary government’, and he guides the others about the legally and politically right way to tackle problems like Griffin. They might have a high social standing in the village community but then all of them are rather slow on the uptake and they argue about how they should handle the problem of the flying furniture and Griffin. Sandy Wadgers cautions them about being careful about breaking open Griffin’s door which has apparently opened by Mrs and Mr Hall. The rustic characters of Iping take a lot of time in making the right decisions. They have varied views, and take a long time in coming to a decision.
9.Bobby Jaffers is the typical village policeman. After getting the warrant for the arrest of Griffin, he marches ahead of a group of hangers on, stragglers and scared village folk who want to witness the arrest of Griffin. Unfortunately, things turn difficult for Mr Bobby Jaffers, who after challenging Griffin is presented with a situation where he has to handcuff a man with no hands. Bobby Jaffers is a typical village constable, who is not able to improvise or handle the situation wisely. He struggles to handcuff Griffin, but Griffin evades him steadily slipping out of his clothes and becoming more and more invisible. Bobby Jaffers is a respected constable in the village, he is dedicated to his work, obeys and fulfils orders, tries to maintain law and order in Iping village, but then he is like his fellow villagers, dim witted, stupid and slow on the up take. The poor fellow gets beaten up in the melee, both by Griffin, and the others who punch and kick each other in their haste to get hold of Griffin.
10.Mr Marvel is the quintessential country side tramp, a vagabond who has no base who strikes gold. He is rotund, has a ruddy appearance with a perpetually red face, courtesy of the liquid diet of alcohol that forms his staple diet. Mr Marvel becomes the unwilling and unfortunate errands boy of Griffin. He is exploited by Griffin, and forced to enter into a no exit contract. He is made to do things that are illegal and dangerous. He is made to accompany Griffin to Iping to collect the diaries left behind in the parlour. He pushes the door to the parlour open allowing Griffin to slip in, and then takes his position under the parlour window from where Griffin hands him over the diaries. Mr Marvel’s pockets become the dumping ground or the containers to carry the coins robbed by Griffin from the people in Port Stowe. He tries to convince Griffin to let him go because he has a weak heart and is of no use to Griffin. However Griffin doesn’t let him go. It is because of this reason that Mr Marvel decides to run away. Mr Marvel barely escapes being caught by Griffin in the Jolly Cricketers Inn. Fortunately enough the man with the black beard fires at Griffin. Mr Marvel is surprisingly an interesting character in this book. He is the only person who benefits from his relationship with Griffin, having made off with all the money stolen by the latter. He sets down base in Port Stowe. Opens an inn and names it The Invisible Man. He becomes a wise man, and is the custodian of Griffin’s diaries. That the diaries are safe with him cannot be doubted. Mr Marvel proves to be a humble and modest man who in spite of his newly acquired wealth does not forget his roots.
11.The Man with the black beard is a man of action. He is probably from the Wild West, Texas in America. He has a revolver and itches to use it. The British constable in the Jolly Cricketers Inn however warns him about manslaughter. When the confrontation finally takes place between Griffin and the rest of the guests at the Jolly Cricketers, it is this man who takes things into his hands. He fires five rounds at Griffin and one of his rounds hits Griffin in the hand. The action of the man with the black beard brings about the turning point in the story because it is at this point that Griffin enters Dr Kemp’s house.
12.Colonel Adye is the exact opposite of Bobby Jaffers, the village constable. He is methodical, efficient, hard-working and intelligent. Colonel Adye is meticulous, conscientious, and a more intelligent Police Chief than a countryside constable will ever be. He follows Dr Kemp’s instructions to the word. Colonel Adye is a brave man who goes down fighting Griffin. Unfortunately he is no match for Griffin in terms of intelligence. He refuses to return to Dr Kemp’s house when Griffin instructs him to do so because he knows that the moment the door is opened by Dr Kemp to let him in, Griffin will slip in like he did before.