Who Are the Main Characters in The Citadel, by A. J. Cronin
The leading character of Cronin’s novel "The Citadel" is Andrew Manson, a young Scottish physician who arrives in Wales full of dreams and aspirations for a successful career in medicine. His honesty, stubbornness and ideals towards a better health service for everyone, by putting money aside and placing human life above anything else, divide the local community in two sides: those who hate him and want to get rid of him and his “weird” medical methods, and those who are his sworn friends and who would support him at any cost. This internal and external fight between money and medicine idealism follows him throughout the book.
Christine Barlow-Manson is a young teacher when she meets Andrew Manson, later to be her husband. She abandons her teaching career to join her destiny with his, and follows him to places where his medical profession and conscience dictates. She seems to serve her husband and obey any crazy idea springs to his mind, without any objection, which of course is something common to married women in the era that the story takes place.
Philip Denny, a semi-alcoholic doctor, of similar age to Andrew Manson, is a skilled and much promising professional in the medical field. However, he is kept back by his inability to cut down on drinking. Despite his abrupt character, which is partly justified by his addiction, he becomes a true friend to Dr. Manson and his wife, and shares many of his future adventures in the medical field.
Not all Andrew Manson’s doctor friends are alcoholic, incompetent or broke, though. Freddie Hamson is a bright exception and he is well-established in London, enjoying the benefits of his wealthy clientele. Although Manson is in a severe need to earn more money, and as a result, a better standard of living for his wife and himself, he soon realizes that Hamson’s greed for luxury and riches has corrupted his medical honesty, as he measures patients by the size of their wallets.
A great influence to Andrew Manson in realizing his dream for a healthier standard of living for everyone is Mr Stillman, who, although not an officially qualified doctor, allows Dr. Manson to use his clinic in America to rehabilitate patients suffering from chest diseases.
Finally, it would be a great omission not to mention Frances, Dr. Manson’s flirt while in London, reminding us the fact that doctors are humans too and, regardless of how honest and strong characters they might be, temptation can bend their resistance and make them commit a sin.