Character Sketch of Sethe in Beloved

Sethe, is the main protagonist of Beloved. She was born on a distant plantation that she hardly remembers, though she has faint memories of her own mother. When she was in her early teens, she was brought to Sweet Home, where she takes Halle Suggs as her husband. She has four children, and when she is pregnant with the fourth child, she runs away all alone. Sethe carries physical marks of the brutality inflicted on her; she has a mass of scars on her back that resemble a tree. Schoolteacher, who is the brutal master at Sweet Home, tracks her down. But Sethe decides to kill her children instead of surrendering.

Sethe is haunted by her daughter’s ghost, first as the spectre, baby ghost, then as Beloved. Her relationship with Beloved is a working out of her guilt at killing her child, of not getting the chance to nurture her and love her. Sethe’s character is Toni Morrison’s powerful imagining of a tortured soul.

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