Character Sketch of Mr. Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie

Mr. Wingfield is introduced by Tom as “the fifth character” in the play. He was a telephone salesman who “fell in love with long-distance” and abandoned his family. He is absent throughout the play, except for his larger than life picture on the mantelpiece in the Wingfield living room. His is a symbol of regret and his absence looms large, always reminding the family of the life they never had because of his abandonment. Surprisingly, even though everyone in the family has been affected by his desertion, no one speaks of him accusingly or with bitterness. Amanda recalls his courtship of her with fondness, constantly reminding her children of the charm of their father’s youth. Even though his father’s act of abandonment has affected Tom deeply, he seems in part, to idolize him and even follow in his footsteps. He says, “I am like my father. The bastard son of a bastard father!”

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