The Verandah

The Verandah
The play takes place in the summer of 1940 at the Costa Verde Hotel. It sits on a jungle-covered hilltop overlooking the morning beach of Puerto Barrio in Mexico. The play takes place all over the wide verandah of the hotel.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Night of the Iguana – Character Analysis

Lawrence Shannon is an ex-reverend and the main character of the play. Throughout the play, Shannon is a character who is defined by his emotional instability, as he if often confused as to what he wants and often is getting into trouble because of his actions. It is revealed in the play that he was removed from his church because of alleged affairs with an under-aged girl and he continues his actions in terms of a young girl from the tour named Charlotte, who tempts Shannon into having an affair with her. After being removed from his church(before the play begins), Shannon becomes a tour guide for an agency called Blake tours. He also seems to develop a slight drinking problem: “If I start drinking rum-cocos now I won’t stop drinking rum-cocos”(Williams, 11). At this agency, Shannon questions his wants as he is miserable at his new job and is constantly tempted by the seventeen year old. Not only is he miserable being a tour guide, but he also begins the play on “probation” with his company for losing a previous tour group. Later on in the play, it is evident that Shannon forced his tour group to stay at the Costa Verde Hotel because of threats from Ms. Fellows(head of the tour group) to have him fired and charged for statutory rape. Upon arriving at the Costa Verde Hotel, Shannon is greeted by an old friend named Maxine, who also seems to have an interest in seducing him, as she insists on him staying in her late husband’s clothes and bed, as well as doing him various favours(i.e. opening for numerous guests out of season). When the new guest Hannah arrives, Shannon has some type of attraction to her as he insists to Maxine that she allows Hannah to stay in her the hotel’s deluxe suite without paying prior to the visit. Throughout Hannah’s stay he helps her out with her grandfather and occasionally opens up to her about his past and even saves the iguana from the rope at her request. His emotional instability is shown more as the play progresses, as he holds the bus key, exposes himself, threatens to drown himself and forces Maxine and Hannah to tie him down, while also insulting Maxine. Despite this, after Nono’s death, Shannon appears to have found what he is looking for and agrees to stay with Maxine and help run the hotel.

Maxine Faulk is the owner of the Costa Verde Hotel an old friend of Shannon’s.  She appears to be a very independent women, as she runs a hotel by herself and does not keep quite about her opinion.When Shannon arrives it is revealed that she is a widower of her late husband Fred. In most of the play, Maxine gives the impression of being very lustful, as the play opens with her just finishing making love to one of her employees (Pedro). It is also revealed that she had been intimate with her employee before her husband pasted away. When Shannon arrives at the hotel, she appears to be attracted to him, and appears to try and seduce him. This is shown by her efforts to defend him from Ms. Fellowes, make Shannon stay, as well as insiting on him using Fred’s old clothes and room. When Hannah arrives, Maxine becomes jealous of her because of the apparent connection she sees between Shannon and  Hannah. She eventually gets over this jealousy and insists that Hannah stay(rather than go out in the storm), after realizing that she has no attraction to Shannon. Later on in the play, her simple lust seems to evolve as she resists “moon bathing” with her employee, and offers Shannon to stay at the hotel and help her take care of it. This offer shows that Maxine was also confused about what she really wanted and figures out that she wants somebody (a man) to take care of her.
Charlotee Goodall is a seven-teen year old girl on Shannon’s tour that seduces and falls in love with Shannon. Throughout the play she believes she is in love with Shannon and tries to take advantage of his attraction to young women. She calls him by his first name, sneaks into his room(multiple times), walks on glass with him and professes her love to him. When she tells Shannon how she feels, he rejects her and kicks her out of the room, causing her to hate him.  In this play Charlotte, is similar to in the fact that she confused about her emotions but it is different then Shannon because she represents, naivity and innocence, something that is found in a child and something that Shannon takes advantage of. It is evident that Tennessee Williams wanted her to symbolize the naïve and innocent because of her last name Goodall.
Hannah Jelkes is a traveling artist who is very a laid back, understanding and calm women. She does not seem to value things such a material items or money as most people do. When she arrives at the Costa Verde Hotel, it is revealed that she is a traveling artist, who travels with her poetic grandfather, making money by sketching people and having her grandfather recite poetry. Her sympathy amazes Shannon throughout the play, as she accepts him and anyone no matter what they have done in the past, claiming she only dislikes mean and violent actions.  Shannon also point out that she gives him one of her last two cigarettes that she was saving, an act he deems almost heroic as she is broke and gave away her cigarette without hesitation. She helps Shannon physically and emotionally, by taking glass out of his foot and by allowing him to open up, aiding in him finding out what he wants. Unlike Maxine and Shannon, Hannah appears to be more emotionally stable and knows what she wants in the world, where as Maxine and Shannon are confused about what they want. Throughout the play there is tension between Hannah and Maxine as Hannah gets the impression that Maxine did not want her to stay(which was partly true). After Hannah reveals that she has no attraction to Shannon, Maxine accepts her and they team up to tie down Shannon and calm him down. At the end of the play, Nono recites his last poem, causing Maxine to cry over the beauty of it. Soon after Maxine discovers her grandfather dead and rests her head on his as a final goodbye. Hannah’s emotional stability represents the opposite of Shannon and Maxine’s, but something they want, and eventually obtain.

Judith Fellowes is the head of Shannon’s tour group and the person that Shannon has the most conflict with. Throughout the play she acts like a guardian to Charlotte, trying to stop her from seducing or being seduced by Shannon who she does not trust because of his reputation.  She also insists on leaving the hotel and makes a phone call to request that Shannon be laid off from his job and arrested for statutory rape and other things.  Eventually, Fellowes’ wish comes true as a new tour guide, Jake Latta comes to combine his tour with Shannon’s former tour and aids in forcefully retrieving the bus key.

Jonathan Coffin, also known as Nonno is Hannah’s grandfather. He is a poet who has mental problems, such as dementia as he is very old(97). Hannah expresses that he is the oldest active poet. Nonno’s poems often inspire those around him and can be related to how they are feeling. The poem he recites before he dies, causes Maxine and Shannon to truly realize what they were looking for and retain emotional stability.


  1. I think Shannon's behaviour and emotional instability is ironic, as he was once a minister and hinted at wanting to become one again. Despite this he still has a drinking problem, he smokes, he swears, he exposes himself, he uses God's name in vain and he has sexual relations with teenage girls. It is appropriate that his changed involved not becoming a minister because it did not really suit his life style. Although some of his actions were caused by his situation and mental instability, habits such as his lust, his drinking (to a lesser degree) and his smoking habits are probably unrelated.

  2. Yea, I thought he said that he was going to get back on being a minister too. But then he ended up staying with Maxine in Mexico :/

  3. Biggest load of crap ever presented as entertainment. Not one of the characters is remotely believable.

    1. Your an illiterate idiot! These characters are so vibrant! From the bus driver to Nano and Miss Jelks. Shannon and Maxine need each other . And religion is corrupt, just sayin