Rhett Butler

Rhett Butler

    Gone with the Wind
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew Up... the black sheep of the family. Although Rhett loves his mother and sister, he's never been very popular with his family, especially after he was kicked out of West Point and turned to gambling.

Living... in a dying world. It's 1861, and the Civil War means the Southern aristocracy is dying – not that they haven't been disappearing for a long time already. Rhett, who never cared much for romantic notions of the Old South, isn't too personally devastated, but even he can't help but be affected by the suffering around him.

Profession... jack-of-all-trades. From professional gambler to blockade runner, Rhett's had a lot of jobs, and he's been good at all of them; one look at his fortune is enough to tell you that. Though one thing Rhett's money and charm can't buy seems to be a reputation, but that's all right with him. As he says, "With enough courage, you can do without a reputation."

Interests... gambling, sleeping around, and generally scandalizing everyone around him. Rhett's also quite cultured, enjoying Shakespeare and the classics, but most people are too busy being outraged to notice.  

Relationship Status... messy. Rhett has a reputation for being a lady-killer, but when he meets feisty Scarlett O'Hara, there's a chance it might be love. The problem? Scarlett's as stubborn as he is and Rhett, despite all his feelings for her, is "not a marrying man." 

Challenge... romancing and keeping the tempestuous Miss O'Hara. It's an uphill battle, both ways – Scarlett and Rhett both have hot tempers, and neither are the type to compromise. In spite of all their arguments, however, Rhett is convinced there's something there; he just has to wait for Scarlett to realize it, too.

Personality... smooth, witty, and charmingly roguish. Since he was young, Rhett's never been one for convention; he sees things as they are, and he isn't afraid to speak his mind. But while Rhett might think of himself as a bad person, "selfish and shrewd" and capable of callous pragmatism, he's also capable of great love. His problem with the latter, however, is showing it.


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