Absurd Person Singular | Study Guide

Sir Alan Ayckbourn

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Absurd Person Singular | Character Analysis



Sidney is a shrewd businessman who primarily looks out for himself. He is implied to be unethical and dishonest in his business dealings, cutting corners for profit. Easily frustrated, he pressures his wife Jane to entertain their party guests and often brings her to tears. At the end of the play Sidney's newfound wealth makes him feel superior to the other guests.


Jane is high-strung and nervous. She feels pressure to be the perfect hostess and frequently cleans house to calm her anxiety. She enjoys having the newest kitchen gadgets and giving the appearance of wealth in her home. Jane works hard to please Sidney, often disappointing him. In Act 3 she joins Sidney in forcing the other guests to play humiliating party games.


Geoffrey is shrewd and intelligent. He is a talented architect who strives to be honest in business. However, he is a selfish husband who plans to leave his wife for his mistress Sally in Act 2. He ends up staying with Eva and employing her to help him in his business. After a major professional failure, Geoffrey falls into a depression. By Act 3 he is having trouble motivating himself to work.


Eva is vulnerable and open about her problems. In Acts 1 and 2 she is unappreciated by Geoffrey, whose frequent affairs may contribute to her suicidal depression. She tries to kill herself throughout Act 2, but the guests believe she is having a series of clumsy accidents. By Act 3 Eva has recovered and taken charge of Geoffrey's business, encouraging him to find work.


Ronald is introspective and detail oriented. He is a skilled businessman who is somewhat sheltered by his wealth. Act 2 demonstrates that he is not very good at fixing household appliances. In Act 3 Ronald reveals he is dissatisfied with his life and wonders where he went wrong in a failed first marriage.


Marion is flirtatious and charming. She is accustomed to a privileged life and looks down on others with less money and prestige. When her husband's fortunes decline in Act 3, she becomes depressed and stays in bed for days at a time.

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