Eleanor Shellstrop

Eleanor Shellstrop

    The Good Place

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living... in The Good Place. That’s where truly virtuous people go when they die. Which is a little confusing for Eleanor, who lived a selfish, unseemly life. As she quickly realizes after getting a welcome speech from neighborhood “architect” Michael, she’s accidentally been mistaken for a different Eleanor Shellstrop – one who helped get innocent people off death row, went on hunger strikes to protest Bolivian sex trafficking, and had a strange love of clown décor.

Profession... student of ethics. During her life on Earth, Eleanor was a salesperson for a drug company that sold bogus supplements to sick people. But in The Good Place – where no one has to work for a living – hiding her secret is now a full-time job. So she enlists former ethics professor Chidi Anagonye to teach her how to be a good person. As she puts it, “I am revved up to learn, man. My brain is horny!”

Interests... getting drunk, being rude, and taking advantage of other people’s kindness. Plus enjoying frozen yogurt, which is everywhere in The Good Place.

Relationship Status... it’s complicated. When Eleanor arrived in The Good Place, she was paired with her “soul mate” Chidi. But since Chidi was actually meant for the other Eleanor, they settle on being reluctant friends.

Challenge... becoming a good person. If Eleanor’s true identity is revealed, she’ll be sent to The Bad Place – where the screams are eternal and the annoyances never end. As Eleanor puts it, “It doesn’t sound awesome.” But her inherent immorality is throwing The Good Place out of whack. So in addition to hiding her identity, she sets about trying to become a better person under Chidi’s patient tutelage. Unfortunately, Eleanor finds it hard to do anything that isn’t entirely self-serving. As she says of an overly friendly neighbor, “Oh, so now I’m supposed to be nice and make friends and treat her with mutual respect? That’s exactly what she wants me to do, Chidi. Wake up!”

Personality... selfish, lazy, assertive, and rude. Eleanor definitely isn’t a good person. She spent her life on Earth tricking, manipulating, and making fun of people. But although she’s egotistical, she also has an appealing no-nonsense enthusiasm for life. And as she actively tries to improve herself, Eleanor begins to realize she really does have the capacity to change for the better.


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