Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
Wildeve, a former engineer, becomes the innkeeper of the Quiet Woman. He dresses in fancy clothes and feels he is much more important to others than he is. He sees himself as a "lady-killer" and trifles with the emotions of both Eustacia, his former lover, and Thomasin, his wife. Wildeve is so superficial, he is almost pitiful. He is angry with Mrs. Yeobright for not trusting him to deliver the money to Thomasin; as a result, he determines to win it away from Christian Cantle, a task that is easily accomplished over a dice game.
Eustacia is attracted to Wildeve only for "want of a better object" and for their mutual dislike of the heath. When he comes into a sum of money, he tells Eustacia he will use it to travel away from the heath. This romantic idea makes Wildeve seem much more attractive to Eustacia, and she deludes herself into believing that she has married the wrong man; she feels that Wildeve, in his wildness and passion, is much more suited to her than her cold, hard husband.
Eustacia realizes that Wildeve is impulsive and fickle and only summons him in her low moments. Ironically, Wildeve cannot seem to resist her beauty or her charm and frequently deserts his kind, innocent wife to go to Eustacia. In the end of the novel, he redeems himself to some degree by trying to assist Eustacia in her plan to flee the heath and for plunging into the water to save her without a thought for his own safety. Unfortunately, Wildeve loses his life in the effort.
Venn, the reddleman, is a mysterious character. In appearance, he is always cast in red due to his profession. Because of his redness, the children on the heath are frightened of him and relate him in some to Satan. Though Venn does not influence the plot in any big way, he brings about events. He seems to always be at the right place at the right time in order to help the major characters in the story.
In the end, he is the one who saves Clym from drowning and rescues the body of Eustacia.
Throughout the book, he loves Thomasin in spite of the fact that she has refused his proposal of marriage. Even when she marries Wildeve, Venn remains fiercely loyal to Thomasin's welfare. He is characterized as a resourceful, helpful, patient, and persistent person who finally wins Thomasin in the sixth book of the novel.