Characters Found in Prince and Pauper by Mark Twain


The Prince and the Pauper is a novel by American author Mark Twain. It was first published in 1881 in Canada, before its 1882 publication in the United States. The novel represents Twain's first attempt at historical fiction. Set in 1547, it tells the story of two young boys who were born on the same day and are identical in appearance: Tom Canty, a pauper who lives with his abusive, alcoholic father in Offal Court off Pudding Lane in London, and Edward VI of England, son of Henry VIII of England.

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Characters in the Novel

Tom Canty

He is a son of a drunkard and is unlike his father in nature and behavior. Born a pauper, he dreams of becoming a prince. Though driven to the streets by John Canty, he hates to extend his hand to beg. Instead, he loves to read and, under the tutelage of a kind old priest, even learns Latin. Tom’s dream of becoming a prince comes true when he exchanges roles with Edward Tudor.


Edward Tudor

He is the “prince” of the novel. Edward, the Prince of Wales and the son of Henry VIII, learns about the lives of his people when he exchanges roles with Tom. In the novel, Edward travels from the security of Westminster to the dingy confines of a prison cell. As he progresses in his journey, he transforms himself from an innocent and impulsive child-prince to a mature and enlightened young man ready to wisely rule a country. As a prince, Edward is pampered and protected. His father, Henry VIII, showers him with affection, and the palace staff who attend to all his needs and wants.


John Canty

The unloving and harsh father of Tom Canty. He keeps his son in tow solely so that young Tom can beg money for him. He is a ruffian and a drunkard who begs and steals for a living and mistreats his wife and children.


Miles Hendon

The dispossessed heir to the Hendon estate and Edward’s good friend, guide, and protector in his adventures. He is the protector and champion of the otherwise friendless Edward. He is handsome, chivalrous, just, and capable.


King Henry VIII

The loving father of Edward, Prince of Wales; he is anxious to see his son installed as the heir apparent before it is discovered that the prince is mad.


Bet, Nan, and Mother Canty

The sisters and mother of Tom Canty, who try to protect him from John Canty’s brutality.


Father Andrew

The good, retired priest who teaches Tom how to read and write and also teaches him a bit of Latin, a talent which he later uses at court.


The Lady Jane Grey, the Lady Elizabeth, and the Lady Mary

Half-sisters to Edward, Prince of Wales. At various times, they are kind or sarcastic to Tom Canty, who they believe to be the real prince.


The Lord Hertford and the Lord St. John

Two lords of the realm in charge of overseeing the welfare of the Prince of Wales.



A ruffian vagabond member of the troop which holds the prince captive; later, he is beaten by the prince in a contest of skill.


Hugh Hendon

Miles’s brother who usurps Miles’s rightful place in the family and also marries the woman Miles loves. He pretends not to recognize Miles. He is also responsible for Miles’ and the young prince’s being imprisoned.


Blake Andrews

The old retainer of Miles Hendon’s father; he comes to jail and explains the various events that have transpired since Miles Hendon has been away.


Sir Humphrey Marlow (deceased)

An old friend of Miles’s father, Miles hopes that the old fellow will help him regain his rightful position as a recognized member of the Hendon family.


Humphrey Marlow

A young boy who is hired to take the prince’s whippings. He is helpful and a very over bearing friend for because he helps young Tom Canty adapt to his role as prince.


The Hermit

A mad old man who takes young Edward in and pretends to be kind to him; however, when he hears that Edward is the son of Henry VIII, the hermit is almost successful at killing the lad.




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