Seize the Day : characters

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Seize the Day is a notable literary work by Saul Bellow. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of Seize the Day.


Seize the Day” is a novella by Saul Bellow (1915-2005). The novel was published in 1956. The story mainly circles around the character of Tommy Wilhelm. Here are the main characters in the novella:

Tommy Wilhelm: The protagonist of the story, Tommy, is a middle-aged man who is going through a series of personal and financial crises. He is divorced, unemployed, and struggling to find a purpose in life. Tommy constantly seeks validation and approval from his father and others, and he embarks on a journey of self-discovery throughout the novella. Catherine is his sister.

Wilhelm Adler: Tommy’s father, Wilhelm Adler, is a successful and wealthy businessman. He has a strained relationship with his son and is often dismissive and critical of Tommy’s choices and failures. Wilhelm’s disapproval and constant comparisons to his more successful brother add to Tommy’s feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.

Dr. Tamkin: Dr. Tamkin is a mysterious and manipulative character who befriends Tommy. He presents himself as a psychiatrist and financial advisor, offering Tommy advice on improving his life. However, his motivations and intentions remain unclear throughout the story, and he is seen as a somewhat unreliable and dubious character.

Margaret: Tommy’s ex-wife, who he is still deeply in love with. Margaret represents Tommy’s past and desire for a simpler, happier life.

Olive: Olive is a woman Tommy meets at the hotel where he stays. She is a prostitute who offers Tommy companionship and solace during his time of despair. Olive acts as a sympathetic ear and provides Tommy with a brief respite from his troubles.

Wilhelm’s brothers: Tommy has two brothers, Arthur and Julius, who are more successful and financially stable than he is. Their success highlights Tommy’s feelings of inadequacy and fuels his desire for a better life.