Nathan Detroit

Nathan Detroit

    Guys and Dolls
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew up… in New York City in the beginning of the 20th century. Nathan was a juvenile delinquent, and now he’s a grown delinquent.

Living… in New York City. Nathan’s trying to make it in a tough city, despite the fact that he’s not actually as good at gambling as he thinks he is. Still, at least he’s persistent.

Profession… gambler. He runs an illegal floating craps game that attracts some of the biggest gamblers around. Unfortunately, the police are really cracking down, and Nathan’s running out of places to host the game. He’s only found one – but it requires a grand to reserve, and Nathan doesn’t have the money. He’ll just have to make a bet that can bring him that much cash.

Interests… playing craps and gambling with money he doesn’t really have.

Relationship Status… in love. He’s known the night-club performer, Adelaide, for years. She wants to get married, but somehow Nathan never quite gets around to proposing. It’s breaking her heart, but Nathan isn’t ready to make that commitment yet. He does love her, though. As he says, “If a guy did not have a doll, who would holler on him?”

Challenge… keeping his craps game open, keeping out of jail, and keeping on Adelaide’s good side. All three of which tend to conflict with the others. Adelaide wants him to marry her, but he’d prefer to run the craps game, which is going to be shut down by the police if he isn’t clever about it. Nathan will have to be careful about how he places his bets this time.

Personality… overconfident, but with a heart of gold. He'll occasionally have to lie to get what he wants, but deep down he's a good person. Nathan’s not overly known for commitment, but unless you’re a policeman he won’t treat you too badly.


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