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Characters / Book of Esther

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King Ahasuerus
  • A Round of Drinks for the House: Throws a lavish six-month party for all his subjects (especially the upper classes) in celebration of his victory.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Vashti refusing to appear before his guests results in him kicking her out of the place and issuing an edict declaring that the father is the head of the family and the one whose language should be learned by his children.
    • To be fair, that was because he caved to pressure from his advisors. On the other hand, it's not like he had to make that choice.
  • Drunk with Power: He's all to eager to throw his weight around.
  • The Emperor: He was in charge of the Persian Empire, which stretched throughout much of the Middle East, and all the way down into India, as well as a portion of North Africa.
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  • Forgot I Could Change the Rules: Averted. Once a rule is put into the law of the Medes and Persians, the king can not change it.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Either Xerxes I or Artaxerxes II.
  • Idiot Ball: Because he trusts Haman so much, he doesn't even bother to check which race he's being asked to wipe out. Maybe genocide was common for him?
  • Slave to PR: Relies quite heavily on his advisors...which isn't always a good thing.
  • Toilet Seat Divorce: Divorces Vashti because she refused to make an appearance (possibly a naked appearance) at his banquet.
  • What Have I Done: Regrets sending Vashti away, but once a Royal Decree was made in Ancient Persia, there was no taking it back.

Queen Vashti
"And the king ordered his wife Vashti to appear before his guests wearing her crown, that he might display her beauty before them, but she came not."

  • Beauty Is Bad: Viewed by some as defiant and haughty
  • Foil: To Esther
  • Morton's Fork: Refuse to make a naked appearance at your husband's party and be punished (possibly executed) for disobeying Your Husband, The King (i.e. treason), or make the naked appearance and be punished (possibly executed) for letting men who aren't your husband, The King ogle you (i.e. treason)? Decisions, decisions...
  • Ms. Fanservice: Averted; her husband asked her to come to his banquet to show her off, but she refused
  • Put on a Bus
  • Romantic False Lead
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After she is banished from the empire, she is never mentioned again, and it is not known what happened to her.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: So beautiful that her husband wants to show her off.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: One interpretation of her refusal to come to the party wearing her royal crown is that it was actually a request to wear only her crown.

Queen Esther
"I will go to the king, even if it is forbidden. And if I perish, I perish"

Mordecai the Judean
"See how the king rewards a man he wishes to honor!"

Hamanthe Agagite
"Who else would the king honor aside from me?"
  • Biblical Bad Guy: One of the very baddest, for being the first to propose a Final Solution against the Jews.
    • He figures in several Talmudic legends where nature itself recognizes how evil he is and recoils from him. A particularly amusing one has all the trees in the world protest at being made into the gallows where he will be hanged, because they don't want to be defiled with his blood. Only the thorn tree can't find an excuse, so the gallows was made from thorn wood.
    • He's also shown up many places in pop culture, including an episode of South Park where he tries to come back and kill the Jews again, and Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights where he's an evil Vizier.
  • Big Bad: His plan to exterminate the Jewish race drives the plot and Esther's decisions.
  • Death by Irony / Hoist by His Own Petard: Hanged on his own gallows that were built for Mordechai.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Tried to have Mordechai hanged and the entire Hebrew race exterminated just because one Jew refused to bow to him.
  • Evil Chancellor
  • Hate Sink: Haman is possibly the Ur-Example of a character who is designed to be loathed as much as possible, considering his narcissism, ambition, and anti-semitism. Haman forces citizens to bow to him, and is suggested to have embroidered a graven image into his clothing, essentially forcing them to worship an Idol. When his fellow advisor, Mordecai the Judean, refuses to bow for this reason, Haman plots a genocide against the Jewish people, as well as personally building a gallows for Mordecai when the latter still refuses to bow. It is telling that a near universal custom when reading Megillat Ester (the hebrew name of the work) is to jeer at least when Haman’s name is first and last mentioned, making him an odd religiously significant version of this trope.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: He builds a gallows to execute Mordechai, and winds up getting hanged on it himself.
  • Humiliation Conga: Haman's comeuppance is a fairly epic one. First he has to give an elaborate parade to publicly honor his hated rival Mordechai, due to a misunderstanding where Haman was expecting himself to be the honoree. Then his fancy dinner with the king and queen turns out to be a trap to expose him as the villain. Then when he tries to plead for his life, the king assumes he's trying to assault the queen. He winds up literally Hoist by His Own Petard on the gallows he built for Mordechai. You almost feel sorry for the guy. Almost.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: As was the usual Persian practice of the time, the "gallows" Haman builds for Mordechai (and eventually gets hanged on himself) was probably an impaling stake. It was 50 cubits high, or about 75 feet. Ouch.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: At the very same meeting when he tries to ask for Mordechai's death, he ends up accidentally telling the king to lavishly reward him and give him a parade in his honor. Haman ends up traveling through the city singing of Mordechai's heroism through his gritted teeth.
  • Last of His Kind: Was believed to be the last of the Amalekites, whom God told His people to destroy completely.
  • Kneel Before Zod: He is completely furious that Mordechai, being a Jew, doesn't bow to him.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Haman's attempt at getting a death warrant for Mordechai becomes the occasion for giving Mordechai a long-overdue celebration for saving the king's life, much to Haman's dismay.
  • Oh, Crap!: Upon realizing that his queen (Esther) is one of the very people he plans to have massacred, right when she outs him to the king.
  • Original Position Fallacy: Provided a splendid example when he suggested an elaborate public ceremony to celebrate "someone whom the king delights to honor", thinking that he was going to be the honoree. Turned out the parade was for Mordechai.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: His hatred of the Jewish people is one of his defining character traits.
  • Pride: As shown in the above quote. It backfires badly on him in a meeting where the king says he wants to lavishly reward someone for their services to him. Haman assumes the king is talking about him and suggests the reward of a parade celebrating their heroism... only to find to his horror the king is actually talking about his hated rival Mordechai.
  • Smug Snake: One of the oldest examples. He's arrogant, thin-skinned, and prone to losing his dignity when things don't go according to plan.
  • Un-person: During ancient celebrations of Purim, people would bring stones or slabs of wood with Haman's name on them. When he is mentioned the audience would use chisels and hammers to deface his name. This is also ostensibly the reason that, in modern celebrations of Purim, Audience Participation responds to his name with boos and jeers and loud noisemakers.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Cried to his wife when he found out Mordechai was to be honored for uncovering a conspiracy years before. He also spent his last moments begging Esther for mercy. It causes the king to think he's assaulting her.

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