The Model Millionaire Characters

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  • 0:04 The Model Millionaire
  • 0:34 Who's Who?
  • 3:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Who are the key players in Oscar Wilde's short story 'The Model Millionaire?' In this lesson, you'll meet the small but varied cast of characters who help tell an important lesson about having and giving wealth.

''The Model Millionaire''

Like the last lines of the story, the Oscar Wilde piece ''The Model Millionaire'' introduces readers to a model who is also a millionaire, a millionaire whose model behavior walks the line between being blessed with wealth and paying it forward.

The cast of characters is small, ranging from a handsome but poor young man, to a wise-beyond-his-years artist, to a wealthy baron from Europe who repays a man's favor with one of his own. Let's explore the key players in this tale.

Who's Who?

Here's a rundown of the characters you'll meet in ''The Model Millionaire'':

Hughie Erskine is lucky in some areas, like looks and love, but unlucky in others, such as employment and riches. He is described as ''wonderfully good-looking'' and equally popular with men and women thanks to his sparkling personality. What Hughie struggles with, like a lot of us, is money. He's tried a load of different business ideas, but none have been successful. We find out toward the end of the short tale that Hughie, despite his unfortunate financial circumstances, is generous with what he does have. He gives the beggar money from his pocket and thinks about offering the man some of his own clothing to replace his rags. Hughie also shows a bit of pride and humility when he's eventually exposed as having given money to one of the wealthiest men in Europe.

Alan Trevor is just your basic cerebral artist, who paints on the side. He's described as a ''strange rough fellow, with a freckled face and a red ragged beard,'' whose art is well received by critics and patrons alike. He prefers to surround himself with beautiful and intellectual people, though we discover that Alan's definition of beauty might even include someone wearing rags. Alan is a hard worker in comparison with Hughie's more relaxed nature. He's amused by Hughie's misunderstanding of the beggar-man, but complimentary of his philanthropic nature. He later serves as Hughie's best man at his wedding.

Laura Merton is Hughie's love interest, but we don't learn much about the woman in the story, except to know that she's smitten with her boyfriend. ''Laura adored him, and he was ready to kiss her shoe-strings.'' Laura is apparently quite good-looking herself, but has a protective father in Colonel Merton, who won't allow her and Hughie to marry without a little financial security in place.

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