The Sound and the Fury Characters Analysis

Benjamin Compson - He is the mentally ill brother of The Compson siblings, who is stuck at the age of three. He seems to have no concept of time and has very little ability to communicate. He talks to the people around him mostly by way of crying and moaning. The book focuses on Benjy’s obsession with his sister, Caddy, and he is accompanied in this obsession by his two other brothers, who are just as fixated on Caddy but for different reasons.

Quentin Compson - He is the eldest Compson sibling, and has a deep relationship with his sister, Caddy. The two of them are very tender with one another from a small age, but as Caddy grows, her character begins to clash with Quentin’s ideals of feminine purity. He wants her to be chaste, and pure, whereas Caddy becomes involved with several boys early in her life. Caddy’s promiscuity bothers Quentin and his perceived code of Southern honor, and he becomes isolated when his father fails to react in the same manner. Quentin kills himself two months after Caddy’s marriage to Herbert Head which occurs due to her getting pregnant to another man called Dalton Ames.

Jason Compson IV - The last Compson brother, who becomes the head of his family after the death of his father from alcoholism. Jason is a despicable character from the very beginning of the book and adopts all the characteristics of an antagonist by the end of the book. Jason is his mother’s favorite, perhaps because his constant self-victimization monologues seem to mirror his mother’s monologues from his childhood. Jason is an incompetent man who faces failure in all spheres of his life including his ability to form relationships and provide for his family.

Candace Compson - Caddy is the only sister of the three Compson siblings. She is a strong presence in their lives from childhood itself, which is when she first insists on being the caretaker for all of them. Caddy’s relationship with her brothers becomes complicated as she gains sexual maturity. She has a deep relationship with Benjy because she is nearly his only source of affection but Benjy imposes an impossible standard on her. Their relationship deteriorates when Benjy loses her virginity and stops smelling like trees. Her relationship with Quentin deteriorates for similar reasons and it eventually leads to him committing suicide.

Miss Quentin - She is the illegitimate daughter of Caddy and perhaps a man called Dalton Ames. Caddy is forced to marry Herbert to shield herself from scandal, but Herbert divorces her upon learning of her pregnancy. Caddy’s mother refuses to allow her to return, but Mr. Compson insists on bringing Quentin back to the house to be raised there. Quentin is a headstrong and rebellious girl who seems to have no true affection for any of her relatives. She leaves home with all of Jason’s savings, amounting to nearly seven thousand dollars, as she elopes with a man who works in a moving musical show.