Great Characters Wiki
Great Characters Wiki

Tevye the Dairyman (also known as Tevye or Tevya) is the fictional narrator and protagonist of a series of short stories by Sholem Aleichem, as well as the lead character of various adaptations of them, including the 1939 film Tevya the 1964 stage musical Fiddler on the Roof and its 1971 film adaptation. He's a pious Jewish milkman living in Tsarist Russia, the patriarch of a family including several troublesome daughters.

In the 1939 film he's portrayed by Maurice Schwartz, and for Chaim Topol in the 1971 film.

Why He Rocks

  1. Both Maurcie Schwartz and Chaim Topol show off powerful and emotional performances as the patriarch of the family. Plus the two of them bring their own unique spins on the character that stay faithful to the novel's spirit.
  2. Even though he's often portrayed as comical (often misquoting the Scriptures, or when he gets one right, quotes it in the wrong context) there's still the fact that he's the strong patriarch who stands up to the priest and to his daughter’s desires.
  3. He's is a very lonely position in that his family is the only Jewish family in a cabin outside the village of Boyberik. He is a tragic figure in that he is torn between his love for his daughter Chava and his under-siege faith and his eventually being expelled from the area, thanks to another pogrom. He even disowned Chava and refused to acknowledge her existence after she married Fedya. But not because he wanted to, he's shown that he was depressed to do so.
  4. Despite being a seriously dedicated worker towards the farm, he's still a protective, loving, devoted family man who cares about his children's well being and safety.
    • There's a notable moment in the 1939 film where he has a chat with his daughter Chave when she was hanging out with and planning to marry the Gentile Fedya Galagan. Though Tevye did attempt to prevent her from hanging out with her, he also made sure to reason with her and talk about how untrusting some of the Gentiles can be. So in a way, he's trying to protect for any potential harm from the other religions.
  5. He's a fairly simple man who usually comments with philosophic humor on his life and that of his people, but he aware of how the goyim didn't really respect him and would gladly turn on him without a second thought, so he's rightfully paranoid (albeit subtly) around them and refuses to allow himself to be pushed around by them
  6. Even though he's pretty prejudist against some of the various non-Jews he live near, he usually has a good reason to not like them and doesn't what to go against them with pure malice or hatred.

Bad Quality

  1. He has a couple of minor sexism moments, that thankfully don't affect the major plot.