Characters Who Help Christian in The Pilgrim's Progress

Characters Who Help Christian in The Pilgrim's Progress

Christian in the Pilgrim's Progress is helped by many of the side characters. Some of these include: Evangelist, Good-will, Interpreter, Three Shining Ones, etc... Some of these characters are metaphors of qualities or strengths of a Christian, and others are metaphors for heavenly help.


The Evangelist is the first character to help Christian by telling him to flee the City of Destruction. He might represent a minister named "good Mr. Gifford" who had helped Bunyan overcome his doubts and anxieties as a young Christian. In the story, he is a metaphor for a messenger who shares the Gospel,"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16.

Then said Evangelist, Keep that light in your eye, and go up directly thereto, so shalt thou see the Gate; at which when thou knockest, it shall be told thee what thou shalt do.

He then sends Christian to the wicket gate, a metaphor for Jesus. He also saves Christian from Mr Worldly Wisdom, the Evangelist's rival who tries to set people on the wrong path. Upon meeting Christian and Faithful on the outskirts of Vanity Fair, the Evangelist warns them that they would suffer in the fair from persecution.


Good-will is the second character that helps Christian by letting him enter the narrow path and directing him towards the home of the Interpreter. Good-will probably represents the Holy Spirit or someone mature in faith.

"At last there came a grave person to the gate, named Goodwill."

The opposite of Goodwill is Beelzebub (the devil), who tries to stop Christian from entering Heaven at all costs with his fiery arrows (metaphors for temptations, obstacles, etc...).

Goodwill: I am willing with all my heart, said he; and with that he opened the gate.


The Interpreter, a metaphor for the Holy Spirit, is the third character that helps Christian by taking him on a tour of his house and showing him many things.

The Interpreter's house could be a metaphor for the teachings of the Bible, the church, or spiritual meanings hidden in everyday objects and events. In all cases, the Holy Spirit helps us understand what we are looking at.

Then said Interpreter, Come in; I will show thee that which will be profitable to thee. 

The Three Shining Ones

The Three Shining Ones, which are angels called ministering spirits, help Christian by clothing him in shining garments (the righteousness of Jesus) and giving him a pass into heaven (the New Testament).

The Three Shining Ones wait at the hill with the cross on it (a metaphor for Golgotha), where they meet Christian after the burden on his back (his sin) fell off, and he was born again into a new man.

Three Shining Ones came to him, and saluted him with, “Peace be to thee.” So the first said to him, “Thy sins be forgiven thee” (Mark 2:5); the second stripped him of his rags, and clothed him with change of raiment (Zech. 3:4); the third also set a mark on his forehead (Eph. 1:13), and gave him a roll with a seal upon it, which he bid him look on as he ran


Faithful, a fellow brother in Christ, helped Christian by keeping him in good company and conversing with him about godly things. While in the prison in Vanity Fair, Faithful comforts his friend. He is a metaphor for a loyal brother/sister in Christ who helps us in our walks of faith, just like we help them.

They also now comforted each other, that whose lot it was to suffer, even he should have the best of it.


Hopeful, a metaphor for fellow Christians who give hope in depression, helped his friend by giving him hope in the cell in Despair's castle. He helps Christian overcome the thoughts of suicide, thus giving Christian time to find the key of Promise (the promises made to us in the Bible) that helped them escape. He also helps Christian overcome the depression of the river of death by reminding him of the Celestial City and helping him to go through this experience.

Hopeful: My brother, said he, rememberest thou not how valiant thou hast been heretofore? Apollyon could not crush thee, nor could all that thou didst hear, or see, or feel, in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

The Four Shepherds

The four shepherds, metaphors for the overseers of churches (the flocks of sheep), help Christian and Hopeful by showing them what would happen to them if they went on the "easy" path, or falling into false teachings, etc... Their names, Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere, are metaphors for the qualities that the leaders of the church must have.

 The Lord of these mountains hath given us a charge not to be forgetful to entertain strangers (Heb. 13:2); therefore the good of the place is before you.


Christians in their walks of faith need help. This comes in the forms of other Christians who encourage, teach, guide, etc... Supernatural help comes from angels and the Holy Spirit. All these characters show that Christians cannot live in faith all by themselves, faith is a teamwork.

Works Cited:

Section 1
Summary Pilgrim’s Progress was written in two parts. Each part is a long continuous narrative, without divisions. Consequently, the narrative will be dealt with
The Pilgrim’s Progress: Character List | SparkNotes
A list of all the characters in The Pilgrim’s Progress. The Pilgrim’s Progress characters include: Christian, Apollyon, Christiana, Great-heart.
Section 1 of The Pilgrim’s Progress
The first section from the popular book, The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan.
Bible Gateway passage: John 3:16 - New International Version
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.