A retired officer and friend of Sir John Middleton who falls in love with Marianne Dashwood and acts kindly, honorably, and graciously towards the Dashwoods throughout the novel
The kind and loving mother of Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret and second wife to Henry Dashwood. She has inherited no fortune of her own but wants the best for her daughters and shares Marianne's romantic sensibilities.
The nineteen-year-old eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Dashwood and the heroine of Austen's novel. She is composed but affectionate, both when she falls in love with Edward Ferrars and when she comforts and supports her younger sister Marianne.
The father of John Dashwood and, by a second marriage, of Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret Dashwood. He dies in the opening chapter of the novel and bequeaths his estate at Norland to his son, leaving his wife and daughters impoverished.
The seventeen-year-old second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Dashwood. Her spontaneity, excessive sensibility, and romantic idealism lead her to fall in love with the debaucherous John Willoughby, though he painfully spurns her, causing her to finally recognize her misjudgment of him. After this turn of heart, she ultimately marries her long-standing admirer, Colonel Brandon.
The thirteen-year-old, good-humored youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Dashwood, she shares her sister Marianne's romantic tendencies.
The weak-minded and money-grubbing heir to the Norland estate. At his wife Fanny's suggestion, he leaves his mother and sisters with very little money and remains largely unconcerned for their welfare.
The selfish, snobbish, and manipulative wife of John Dashwood and the sister of Edward and Robert Ferrars.
The wealthy, manipulative mother of Edward and Robert who disinherits her first son when he refuses to marry a rich heiress.
Sir John Middleton
The jovial but vulgar distant relation of the Dashwoods who invites Mrs. Dashwood and her three daughters to stay at Barton Cottage after Mr. and Mrs. John Dashwood inherit Norland, leaving the women homeless.
A distant relation of the Dashwoods who lives at Barton Cottage with her husband Sir John Middleton and their four spoiled children
Lady Middleton's gossipy but well-intentioned mother who invites the Dashwood sisters to stay with her in London and makes it her "project" to marry them off as soon as possible.
A conceited coxcomb and the younger brother of Edward and Fanny. He inherits his mother's fortune after she disinherits Edward. Ironically, he ultimately marries Lucy Steele, even though it was Edward's engagement to this same woman that caused his mother to disinherit him.
The sensible and friendly older brother of Fanny Dashwood and Robert Ferrars. He develops a close relationship with Elinor while staying at Norland and ultimately marries her, after he is freed from a four-year secret engagement to Lucy Steele.
An attractive but deceitful young man who wins Marianne Dashwood's heart but then abandons her (greedily) in favor of the wealthy Miss Sophia Grey.
Mrs. Jennings' cousin and a sly, selfish, and insecure young woman. She has been secretly engaged to Edward Ferrars for four years but she ultimately marries his brother, Robert, once Edward is disinherited.
Lucy Steele's older, unmarried sister who accidentally reveals her sister's secret engagement to Edward Ferrars.
Mrs. Charlotte Palmer
Mrs. Jennings' talkative and foolish daughter who invites the Dashwood sisters to stay at her home in Cleveland on their way from London to Barton.
The novel's protagonist. The second daughter of Mr. Bennet, She is the most intelligent and sensible of the five Bennet sisters. She is well read and quick-witted, with a tongue that occasionally proves too sharp for her own good. Her realization of Darcy's essential goodness eventually triumphs over her initial prejudice against him.
A wealthy gentleman, the master of Pemberley, and the nephew of Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Though he is intelligent and honest, his excess of pride causes him to look down on his social inferiors. Over the course of the novel, he tempers his class-consciousness and learns to admire and love Elizabeth for her strong character.
The eldest and most beautiful Bennet sister. She is more reserved and gentler than Elizabeth. The easy pleasantness with which she and Bingley interact contrasts starkly with the mutual distaste that marks the encounters between Elizabeth and Darcy.
Darcy's considerably wealthy best friend. His purchase of Netherfield, an estate near the Bennets, serves as the impetus for the novel. He is a genial, well-intentioned gentleman, whose easygoing nature contrasts with Darcy's initially discourteous demeanor. He is blissfully uncaring about class differences.
The patriarch of the Bennet family, a gentleman of modest income with five unmarried daughters. He has a sarcastic, cynical sense of humor that he uses to purposefully irritate his wife. Though he loves his daughters (Elizabeth in particular), he often fails as a parent, preferring to withdraw from the never-ending marriage concerns of the women around him rather than offer help.
Mr. Bennet's wife, a foolish, noisy woman whose only goal in life is to see her daughters married. Because of her low breeding and often unbecoming behavior, she often repels the very suitors whom she tries to attract for her daughters.
A handsome, fortune-hunting militia officer. His good looks and charm attract Elizabeth initially, but Darcy's revelation about His disreputable past clues her in to his true nature and simultaneously draws her closer to Darcy.
Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner
Mrs. Bennet's brother and his wife. Caring, nurturing, and full of common sense, they often prove to be better parents to the Bennet daughters than Mr. Bennet and his wife.
The middle Bennet sister, bookish and pedantic.
Catherine Bennet - The fourth Bennet sister. Like Lydia, she is girlishly enthralled with the soldiers.
The youngest Bennet sister, she is gossipy, immature, and self-involved. Unlike Elizabeth, she flings herself headlong into romance and ends up running off with Wickham.
A pompous, generally idiotic clergyman who stands to inherit Mr. Bennet's property. His own social status is nothing to brag about, but he takes great pains to let everyone and anyone know that Lady Catherine de Bourgh serves as his patroness. He is the worst combination of snobbish and obsequious.
Bingley's snobbish sister. She bears inordinate disdain for Elizabeth's middle-class background. Her vain attempts to garner Darcy's attention cause Darcy to admire Elizabeth's self-possessed character even more.
Lady Catherine de Bourgh
A rich, bossy noblewoman; Mr. Collins's patron and Darcy's aunt. She epitomizes class snobbery, especially in her attempts to order the middle-class Elizabeth away from her well-bred nephew.
Elizabeth's dear friend. Pragmatic where Elizabeth is romantic, and also six years older than Elizabeth, She does not view love as the most vital component of a marriage. She is more interested in having a comfortable home. Thus, when Mr. Collins proposes, she accepts.
Darcy's sister. She is immensely pretty and just as shy. She has great skill at playing the pianoforte.
The protagonist. The daughter of a drunken sailor and a woman who married beneath her, she comes to live with her wealthy uncle and aunt, Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram. They take her in as an act of charity to her parents. She is mistreated and always reminded of her "place" as a charity ward, but she eventually comes to be an indispensable member of the family. Modest, always proper, and, as she grows older, quite beautiful, She is secretly in love with the Bertrams' son Edmund but is the subject of proposals by the slick Henry Crawford.
Sir Thomas Bertram
A wealthy landowner and Fanny's uncle. He is authoritarian and rather hard on his children until a series of disasters show him the error of his ways. He owns slaves on his plantations in the Caribbean, a fact that hangs over the book. He means well and eventually does right by Fanny.
Fanny's aunt; her mother's sister and Sir Thomas's wife. She is neurotic, a hypochondriac, and lazy. A beauty in her youth, she values people's attractiveness over all else, yet she is honest enough to admit how much Fanny means to her.
The Bertrams' younger son. Since he will not be the heir to Mansfield, he will become a clergyman. The only one of the Bertrams' children with a good head and a good heart, he is Fanny's closest companion. He rather blindly falls in love with Mary Crawford, which almost leads to his downfall.
The Bertrams' older daughter. Vain and pretentious, she abuses Fanny and marries the odious Rushworth for his fortune. Her self-indulgence eventually gets her in quite a lot of trouble.
Sister to Fanny's mother and Lady Bertram; wife of the first parson at Mansfield Parsonage. She has no children of her own and is an officious busybody, always trying to derive glory from her association with the family. She is horribly cruel to Fanny, whom she is always reminding of her "place" in the family.
The Bertrams' older son and the heir to Mansfield. He lives to party and has gotten into debt, for which Edmund will suffer. Eventually, his lifestyle catches up to him, as he nearly dies from an illness caused by too much drinking.
The Bertrams' younger daughter. She is equally vain but slightly less cocky, since she is younger and less beautiful than Maria. She follows Maria around, and, upon Maria's elopement, she runs away with Yates, her brother Tom's friend.
Sister of Mrs. Grant, who is the wife of the second parson at Mansfield. She is beautiful and charming, but also shallow and evil. She has been brought up poorly by an aunt and uncle and has been subject to the influences of her fashionable friends. She becomes friends with a reluctant Fanny, while Edmund falls in love with and nearly proposes to her.
Tom Bertram's friend, who proposes the amateur theatricals at Mansfield. He shows an interest in Julia, which continues in London. After Maria runs off with Henry, he and Julia elope and marry; they, however, are rehabilitated within the family.
Fanny's younger sister, with whom she gets reacquainted when she returns to her family's home. She is a diamond in the rough, a smart girl with essentially good manners who is stuck in a terrible home. Fanny brings her back to Mansfield Park with her, where she becomes a new favorite of Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram.
Maria's fiance and then husband. He is an idiot and a bore, but quite wealthy. It is his estate that the group visits early in the novel. He provides some comic relief with his stupid comments.
Fanny's brother. Sir Thomas has gotten him a commission in the Navy, and Henry gets him a promotion as part of his effort to seduce Fanny. He and Fanny are extremely close, and he impresses everyone as a bright, capable young man. He represents a sort of ideal companion for Fanny, although, as her brother, of course, he is not an eligible mate for her.
Mary's brother. He is equally charming and possibly even more amoral, and he possesses a sizeable estate. First Maria and Julia fall in love with him, and he takes to Maria, despite her engagement. When Maria marries and the sisters leave Mansfield, he falls for Fanny and proposes to her. Everyone is convinced he is a changed man. Eventually, he meets up with Maria again, and the two run off, but their relationship ends badly
The protagonist of the novel. In the well-known first sentence of the novel, the narrator describes her as "handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition." In some ways, the twenty-year-old is mature for her age. Because her mother is dead and her older sister married, she is already the head of her father's household. She cares for her father and oversees the social goings-on in the village of Highbury. Her misplaced confidence in her abilities as a matchmaker and her prudish fear of love constitute the central focus of the novel, which traces her mistakes and growing self-understanding.
Mr. George Knightley
Emma's brother-in-law and the Woodhouses' trusted friend and advisor. He is a respected landowner in his late thirties. He lives at Donwell Abbey and leases property to the Martins, a family of wealthy farmers whom he likes and counsels. He is the only character who is openly critical of Emma, pointing out her flaws and foibles with frankness, out of genuine concern and care for her. In this respect, he acts as a stand-in for Austen's and the reader's judgments of Emma.
Emma's father and the patriarch of Hartfield, the Woodhouse estate. Though he is nervous, frail, and prone to hypochondria, he is also known for his friendliness and his attachment to his daughter. He is very resistant to change, to the point that he is unhappy to see his daughters or Emma's governess marry. In this sense, he impedes Emma's growth and acceptance of her adult destiny. He is often foolish and clearly not Emma's intellectual equal, but she comforts and entertains him with insight and affection.
Miss Bates's niece, whose arrival in Highbury irritates Emma. She rivals Emma in accomplishment and beauty; she possesses a kind heart and a reserved temperament. Because she lacks Emma's fortune, she must consider employment as a governess, but her marriage to Frank Churchill saves her from that fate.
Mr. Weston's son and Mrs. Weston's stepson. He lives at Enscombe with his aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Churchill. He is considered a potential suitor for Emma, but she learns that though he is attractive, charming, and clever, he is also irresponsible, deceitful, rash, and ultimately unsuited to her.
A pretty but unremarkable seventeen-year-old woman of uncertain parentage, who lives at the local boarding school. She becomes Emma's protégé and the object of her matchmaking schemes.
The widower and proprietor of Randalls, who has just married Miss Taylor when the novel begins. Has a son, Frank, from his first marriage to Miss Churchill (Frank was raised by Miss Churchill's sister and brother-in-law). Is warm, sociable, and perpetually optimistic.
Friend of Mr. Woodhouse and aunt of Jane Fairfax, she is a middle-aged spinster without beauty or cleverness but with universal goodwill and a gentle temperament. Emma's impatient treatment of her reveals the less attractive parts of Emma's character.
Formerly Miss Taylor, Emma's beloved governess and companion. Known for her kind temperament and her devotion to Emma, she lives at Randalls with her husband, Frank Churchill's father.
Mr. Robert Martin
A twenty-four-year-old farmer. He is industrious and good-hearted, though he lacks the refinements of a gentleman. He lives at Abbey-Mill Farm, a property owned by Knightley, with his mother and sisters.
The village vicar, a handsome and agreeable man considered a welcome addition to any social gathering. When he reveals his indifference to Harriet and his desire to marry Emma, only to take a bride at Bath shortly thereafter, he comes to seem proud, conceited, and superficial.
Emma's older sister, who lives in London with her husband, Mr. John Knightley, and their five children. She is pretty, amiable, and completely devoted to her family, but slow and diffident compared to Emma. Her domesticity provides a contrast to the independent celibacy Emma imagines for herself.
Mother to Miss Bates and friend of Mr. Woodhouse. An elderly woman, she is quiet, amiable, and somewhat deaf.
Husband to the Campbells' daughter. Emma suspects that he had a romance with Jane Fairfax before his marriage.
The Campbells' daughter and Jane's friend. She lacks beauty and lives with her husband in Ireland.
A friend of Jane Fairfax's father who lives in London and who takes charge of orphaned Jane when she is eight years old. He feels great affection for Jane but is unable to provide her with an inheritance.
Mr. Weston's ailing former sister-in-law and Frank Churchill's aunt and guardian. She is known to be capricious, ill-tempered, and extremely possessive of Frank. Frank is able to marry Jane Fairfax, as he desires, only after her death.
Formerly Augusta Hawkins, she hails from Bristol and meets Mr. Elton in Bath. She is somewhat attractive and accomplished; she has some fortune and a well-married sister, but her vanity, superficiality, and vulgar overfamiliarity offset her admirable qualities.
Mr. John Knightley
Emma's brother-in-law, and Mr. George Knightley's brother. As a lawyer, he is clear-minded but somewhat sharp in temper, and Emma and her father are sometimes displeased with his severity.
An apothecary and associate of Emma's father. He is highly esteemed by Mr. Woodhouse for his medical advice even though he is not a proper physician, and Mr. Woodhouse argues with his daughter Isabella over his recommendations.
Mr. and Mrs. Cole
Tradespeople and longtime residents of Highbury whose good fortune of the past several years has led them to adopt a luxurious lifestyle that is only a notch below that of the Woodhouses. Offended by their attempt to transcend their "only moderately genteel" social status, Emma has long been preparing to turn down any dinner invitation from them in order to teach them their folly in thinking they can interact socially with the likes of her family. Like the Martins, they are the means through which Emma demonstrates her class-consciousness.
Mr. Martin's kind sister, with whom Harriet was good friends before meeting Emma and turning down Mr. Martin's marriage proposal. Harriet's feelings of guilt and her desire to rekindle her relationship with him pose a dilemma for Emma, who finds the Martins pleasant, worthy people, but worries that Harriet may be tempted to accept Mr. Martin's offer if she again grows close with the family.
The novel's protagonist, she is the middle daughter of Sir Walter Elliot, a landed baronet from a socially important family. Quiet and reserved, yet clever and practical, she sees the foolishness in her father's lavish spending. Because she is neither the most beautiful nor the most image-conscious of his daughters, Sir Walter often overlooks her, slights her, and dismisses her opinions. Though she seeks love, she is conscious of her duty to her position and the prudence of making a suitable match. Seeking to please those around her, in her youth, she was persuaded from following her true desires. In contrast to both of her two sisters and to the other young female characters in the novel, she is level-headed, considerate of others, and humble. She balances duty and passion in a composed and respectful way.
Captain Frederick Wentworth
The object of Anne's affections, he is a gallant Naval officer who, well-educated and well-mannered, has made his own fortunes by climbing the Naval ranks. He values constancy, practicality, and firmness of mind in women, characteristics that will make a good Navy wife. Though he is almost universally liked and respected for his gentle nature and kind attentions to others, Sir Walter disdains him for his 'lower' birth.
Sir Walter Elliot
The father of Anne Elliot, baronet, and owner of Kellynch Hall, he is a caricature of the impractical titled upper classes. Extraordinarily vain, he lines his dressing room with mirrors, and agrees to be seen in public only with attractive or well-born people. Conscious of keeping up grand appearances, he spends lavishly, and brings his family into debt. A poor judge of character, he is easily fooled by those who would take advantage of him.
Mary Elliot Musgrove
The youngest Elliot sister, she is married to Charles Musgrove and has two small boys. She is high strung, often hysterical, and always aware of the imagined slights others have done to her. A rather inattentive mother, she focuses on social climbing.
Mr. William Elliot
Anne Elliot's cousin, and heir to Kellynch Hall, he is a smooth talker who everyone agrees is "perfectly what he ought to be." Only six months after the death of his first wife, and at the end of a marriage that was generally known to be unhappy, he is searching for a new bride. Good- looking and well-mannered, he talks his way back into the good graces of Sir Walter, yet Anne questions his true motives.
The eldest daughter of Sir Walter and the older sister of Anne, she is her father's favorite. Like her father, she is vain and primarily concerned with keeping up appearances and associating with important people. At the end of the novel, she is the only one of the Elliot daughters to remain single, there being no one of adequate birth to suit her taste.
Mary's husband, and heir to the great house at Uppercross, he is a relatively good-natured man who patiently endures his wife's trials. He would have preferred to marry Anne Elliot.
Captain Harville and Mrs. Harville
Friends of Captain Wentworth, this couple resides in Lyme and kindly cares for Louisa after her fall.
Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret
The Irish cousins of the Elliots, they come to Bath. Though they are uninteresting and unclever, Sir Walter seeks their renewed acquaintance because of their high social position.
The girlhood friend of Anne Elliot who is currently living in Bath, she has fallen on hard times. After her husband went into debt and left her a widow, she was left with nothing. Now crippled by an illness, she rekindles her former friendship with Anne and provides her with information that helps Anne learn more of Mr. Elliot. She functions in the story to highlight Anne's high value on friendship and disregard for maintaining appearances at all cost.
The daughter of Mr. Shepard (family advisor to Sir Walter), she soon becomes the friend of Elizabeth Elliot. Though she is of much lower birth, freckled, and not so very attractive, she is a well-mannered widow. Anne, however, sees danger in the way she endears herself to Sir Walter, and suspects she may seek to marry in a class far above her own.
Admiral and Mrs. Croft
The amiable couple that rents Kellynch Hall when Sir Walter can no longer afford to stay there. The Admiral is a decorated Naval officer and his devoted wife travels with him when he is at sea. They are one of the few examples of an older happily married couple in any of Austen's novels.
The former best friend of Anne's deceased mother, she is a woman of considerable birth and wealth who serves as advisor to the Elliot family. A practical woman, she is conscious of class interactions and finances. Anne is her favorite of the Elliot daughters and, though she means well, she sometimes gives Anne bad advice.
Once engaged to the Captain Harville's now-deceased sister, Fanny, he is a depressed naval officer who mourns the death of his lost love. He is a shy man and an ardent reader of poetry. When Anne meets him, he is on leave from his ship and he is living with Captain and Mrs. Harville. He seeks a young woman to help him get over Fanny, and his attentions turn, surprisingly, to Louisa Musgrove.
Cousin to the Musgroves (his mother is the sister of Mrs. Musgrove), his family is nevertheless enmeshed in a much lower social circle because of their 'inferior, retired, and unpolished way of living.' The eldest son, however, chose to be a scholar and a gentleman, and consequently has much more refined manners. He will one day inherit his family's land, and he hopes to court his cousin Henrietta and make her his wife.
Mr. & Mrs. Musgrove
The parents of Charles, Henrietta, and Louisa, they have provided a balanced, happy home for their children at Uppercross. They are a landed family, second in rank in the parish only to the Elliots. They are practical, and want only happiness for their children.
Charles's younger sister, she is young, accomplished, and headstrong. She falls easily in love and admires the Navy excessively.
Younger sister of Charles and older sister of Louisa, she is also young and fun-loving. Though she is not as decisive as Louisa, she sees the charms both of her cousin Charles Hayter and of the dashing Captain Wentworth.
The protagonist of Northanger Abbey. she is seventeen years old, and has spent all her life in her family's modest home in the rural area of Fullerton. While she has read many novels (particularly Gothic novels), she is very inexperienced at reading people. Her naiveté about the world and about the motivations and character of the people she meets is an endless source of confusion and frustration for her. Nonetheless, she is very intelligent and learns from her mistakes, and can also be witty. Her strongest attributes are her integrity and caring nature.
He is a 26-year-old parson in a small village called Woodston. He is intelligent, well-tempered, and attuned to the motivations and behavior of those around him. He is very well read, and enjoys novels as much as history books. He is good natured, but has a wry cynical view of human behavior. He is often amused at the folly of others, but he takes care to gently instruct them properly, if possible, particularly in the case of the naïve Catherine.
Henry's younger sister, she is a shy, quiet young woman. She shares an interest in reading with her brother, but for the most part, her reserve prevents her from having many friends. Like her brothers, she is often subject to the somewhat tyrannical behavior of her father, General Tilney.
The domineering father of Henry, Eleanor and Captain Tilney. He is a widower. Like several characters in the novel (such as Mrs. Allen), he is very concerned with material things. He takes great pride in his home, Northanger Abbey, which he has refurbished himself. He is preoccupied with both earning money and spending it. He enjoys eating a large dinner and having the best of everything, and he wants his children to marry wealthy people. He has a gruff nature which make some, such as Catherine Morland, think poorly of him.
One Mrs. Thorpe's three daughters, and the sister of John Thorpe. She is Catherine's best friend for the first half of the novel. She is attractive and very spirited, but like her mother, she is a gossip and often concerned with superficial things. She enjoys flirting with many young men, which bothers the more reserved Catherine. Ultimately, her nature causes her to lose both James and her other boyfriend, Frederick Tilney.
The brother of Isabella, he is conceited, arrogant, and given to boasting and exaggeration. He talks endlessly and rarely listens. Like his sister, he is given to superficiality. He tries to woo Catherine, but his arrogance quickly turns her against him.
The brother of Catherine and a fellow student of John Thorpe at Oxford University. He is mild-mannered and very caring, like his sister. He falls for Isabella Thorpe and becomes engaged to her, but breaks off the engagement when she begins a flirtation with Frederick Tilney.
The oldest sibling in the Tilney family. Unlike his brother Henry or his sister Eleanor, he is a flirt and given to mischief. Austen suggests that he is the Tilney child closest in character to General Tilney by identifying both men by their ranks rather than by their names. He flirts with Isabella Thorpe and leads her to break off her engagement with James Morland, then abandons her in Bath.
Mr. and Mrs. Allen
The couple that invites Catherine to go to Bath with them. Like Catherine's family, the Allens live in the rural town of Fullerton. They are older and wealthier than the Morlands, but they are childless, and they see Catherine as a kind of surrogate daughter. He is a practical man who spends most of his time in Bath playing cards; she is greatly concerned with fashion, and spends her time either shopping, knitting, or talking to Mrs. Thorpe.
She is the widowed mother of Isabella and of two other daughters. Like her daughter, she is concerned primarily with gossip, fashion, and money. In conversation with her friend Mrs. Allen, she talks mostly about her pride in her children (Mrs. Allen has no children) while Mrs. Allen talks about her gowns (she is not nearly as wealthy as the Allens).
Mr. and Mrs. Morland and family
The family, which includes Catherine and James, is from the rural town of Fullerton. We visit them only briefly, at the beginning and end of the novel. They are relatively simple, practical folk, especially compared to people like Mrs. Thorpe and General Tilney. Both James and Catherine must get the approval of their parents before they can marry their prospective spouses.