Poldark Character Review: Dr. Dwight Enys

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Poldark, both the books and the television series. Read at your own risk.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using Winston Graham’s series of novels, Poldark and the subsequent television series to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In the previous posts, I wrote about the title character, Ross Poldark , his wife, Demelza, Ross’s cousin, Francis, Francis’s wife, Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s second husband, George Warleggan and Ross’s cousin, Verity Blamey. Today’s post will focus on Ross’s best friend, Dr. Dwight Enys.

In any good story, the hero or heroine needs another character to create an emotional balance.  It could be a romantic partner or it could be a close friend. In the world of Poldark, the character of Dr. Dwight Enys creates that balance. Dwight is the Oscar to Ross’s Felix. A doctor by profession, he could have easily chosen to practice among the well heeled ton of London or Bath. Instead he chose to live and work in Cornwall, an area where the majority of the residents are far from wealthy. Where Ross is temperamental and impulsive,  Dwight is practical and level headed. A generous soul, Dwight is known to treat patients for free who unable to pay. But no one is perfect, not even Dwight.

His affair with a miners wife that ended tragically  in both book 2 and series 1 allowed the specter of guilt and doubt to enter his life. That guilt and doubt plagued him until he met Caroline Penvenen, the heiress who he would later marry. Torn between his job and his heart in book 4 and series 2, Dwight nearly walks away from Caroline.


The thing that strikes me about Dwight is that in a universe where characters are temperamental, emotional and dramatic, Dwight is the opposite. He creates a balance that allows the characters on the other side of the emotional spectrum to be out there emotionally while he remains calm and collected.

To sum it up: There has to be a balance on the emotional spectrum when it comes to characters. For every Marianne Dashwood, there has to be an Elinor Dashwood. While one character rages on and explodes, the other is sitting there quietly, responding with a cool and level head. In the world of Poldark, Ross is Marianne and Dwight is Elinor. Without that contrast, the reader may find the characters to be monotone, predictable and the book unreadable. The worst thing a writer wants to hear is the p word. It has sounded the death knell for the many books that have been returned to the library or the bookstore unfinished and un-liked.


Throwback Thursday-The Making Of A Lady (2012)

The story of Cinderella has been told time and again, across the ages and across the world. The reason why it keeps being retold is that the basic elements of the narrative and the characters are easily malleable to any writer who wishes to put his or her own spin on the tale.

In the 2012 television movie, The Making Of A Lady, (loosely based upon the book The Making Of A Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett) Emily Fox Seton (Lydia Wilson) has just lost her job as the assistant of Lady Maria Bayne (Joanna Lumley). Lady Bayne’s widower nephew, Lord James Walderhurst (Linus Roache) proposes marriage to Emily. Emily accepts his proposal. What starts out as marriage of convenience soon turns into something more emotionally substantial.

Then James is called away to India and Emily finds more and more of her time is spent with her husband’s heir and cousin, Captain Alec Osborn (James D’Arcy) and his half Indian, half white wife, Hester (Hasina Haque). Emily beings to suspect of foul play, but are her suspicions correct and can she save not only her life, but the life of the child growing inside of her?

I have not read the book, so this review is strictly based on the television program. Friends of mine have read the book and have advised that the creative team took one too many liberties when re-imagining the novel for the small screen. While it may not be a perfect on-screen rendering of the novel, as a stand alone television adaptation, it could be much worse.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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