Significant Dickens Characters
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Characters who have a significant role in the story.
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A convict who Pip helps in the marshes after his escape from the prison ship. He is recaptured and transported to Australia where he gains a fortune which he secretly uses to increase Pip's "expectations". He secretly returns to England as Provis and confronts Pip with the secret source of his good fortune. Magwitch is recaptured and dies before he can be executed. Magwitch is also the father of Estella.
Mother of Oliver, whom she has out of wedlock with Edwin Leeford. Agnes is also the sister of Rose Maylie.
Childhood friend of David Copperfield and daughter of Betsy Trotwood's lawyer. Becomes David's wife after the death of Dora.
A young surgeon who falls in love with Esther Summerson before going away as ship's doctor to India. On his return to England he learns that Esther is engaged to John Jarndyce. When Jarndyce learns that Esther is in love with Woodcourt he releases her to marry him.
Daughter of William Dorrit, born in the Marshalsea debtor's prison. She works for Mrs Clennam and befriends Arthur. Her father inherits a fortune and they leave the prison and travel abroad. After her father's death she discovers that the fortune has been lost in a banking scam. She nurses Arthur in the Marshalsea when his fortune is lost in the same banking scam. The novel ends with the marriage of Arthur and Amy at St. Georges Church, next to the prison, the same church where she was christened.
Brother of old Martin Chuzzlewit and father of Jonas Chuzzlewit. Greedy and tight-fisted business man who breeds these same qualities into his son, Jonas, who tries to poison him for his trouble.
Old moneylender who develops a scheme, along with fellow usurer, Ralph Nickleby, to get Walter Bray consent to give his daughter, Madeline's, hand for the forgiveness of debts to Gride and Ralph. Gride's plan is undone when Bray dies on the morning of the wedding and his old housekeeper, Peg Sliderskew, jealous of the young wife, steals documents that reveal his scheme. Gride is murdered by burglars before he can be prosecuted.
A member of the Pickwick club and party to the adventures of Pickwick's travels. Snodgrass fancies himself a poet, but has written no poetry. He falls in love with Emily Wardle and marries her at the end of the story.
A servant boy hired by Pip. Pip has such a hard time finding things to keep him busy "that I sometimes sent him to Hyde Park Corner to see what o'clock it was."
Musical, military family headed by Matthew, an old army friend of George Rouncewell. Bagnet's wife, the old girl, knows Matthew so well that he always calls upon her to supply his opinion. The Bagnet children: Quebec, Malta, and Woolwich are named for the military bases where the family have been stationed. Matthew is guarantor to George's loan from Smallweed, when Smallweed calls in the debt George is forced to deliver a document Smallweed needs to help lawyer Tulkinghorn learn Lady Dedlock's secret.
A carrier between Blunderstone and Yarmouth. He marries Clara Peggotty. Quote: Barkis is willin'
Scrooge's former fiancee whom he had forgotten until reminded by the Ghost of Christmas Past.
Girl specified in old Harmon's will that his son John should marry in order to gain his inheritance. When John disappears and is presumed drowned she is left " a widow without ever being married". She leaves her home and goes to live with the Boffins where she is wooed by John Rokesmith, alias of John Harmon. She refuses him at first but later falls in love with him and they marry. She finds out later that he is really John Harmon and that they have gained his inheritance.
Pip's fellow student at Matthew Pocket's. He marries Estella for her money and abuses her. He is killed when kicked by a horse that he has mistreated.
David Copperfield's great aunt. David runs away from London, when he is installed at Murdstone and Grinby's warehouse, and goes to Dover to live with Betsy. She helps David get a start in life and, when she loses her fortune, goes to London to live with David. David describes her as "A tall, hard-featured lady, but by no means ill-looking. There was an inflexibility in her face, in her voice, in her gait and carriage, amply sufficient to account for the effect she had made upon a gentle creature like my mother; but her features were rather handsome than otherwise, though unbending and austere". Dickens' friend and biographer John Forster called Betsy "a gnarled and knotted piece of female timber, sound to the core".
Mr Wopsle's great aunt's granddaughter. She loves Pip but he ignores her as his fortunes improve. When Pip realizes that he loves her too she has married Joe Gargery.
A vicious thief working on the fringes of Fagin's band of pickpockets. He uses Oliver in an attempt to burglarize the Brownlow home. When Nancy tries to help Oliver she is found out by Fagin who relates the information to Sikes who murders Nancy. While fleeing police after the murder he accidentally hangs himself.
Longsuffering clerk of Ebenezer Scrooge. Bob endures Scrooge's mistreatment until Scrooge, reformed by the visit of the three spirits, raises Bob's salary and vows to help his struggling family.
A school teacher and master of the boys department of a school on the borders of Kent and Surrey. Charley Hexam becomes Headstone's pupil and Bradley becomes obsessed with Charley's sister Lizzie. Lizzie wants nothing to do with him and he becomes jealous of Eugene Wrayburn who also has eyes for Lizzie. He attempts to murder Wrayburn and believes he has been successful. Rogue Riderhood discovers the supposed murder and attempts to blackmail Headstone. In a later confrontation Riderhood and Headstone are both drowned.
Adopts Oliver after he is charged with pickpocketing. He later establishes Oliver's true identity.
Detective in charge of finding Tulkinghorn's murderer. After Lady Dedlock's disappearance Sir Leicester hires Bucket to find her. He later uncovers the will that is instrumental in clearing up the Jarndyce and Jarndyce chancery case.
Beadle at the workhouse where Oliver is born. He mistreats the residents in his care and becomes the symbol of Dickens' distaste for the workhouse system. Marries Mrs Corney and later is disgraced and becomes a resident in the same workhouse.
Neglected daughter of Mrs Jellyby and her personal secretary ("I'm pen and ink to ma"). Caddy leaves home and marries Prince Turveydrop.
Son of Marquis St. Evremonde. He is tried for treason in London and is acquitted due to his resemblance to Sydney Carton. He marries Lucie Manette, daughter of Dr. Manette. He returns to Paris to help a friend imprisoned there and is arrested by the revolutionaries. His life is saved when look-alike Carton takes his place on the guillotine.
Assistant Schoolmaster at Salem House Academy attended by David Copperfield. David befriends Mell and finds that Mell's mother lives in an almshouse which he innocently tells Steerforth. Steerforth uses this information to discredit Mell and have him dismissed. Mell later emigrates to Australia and becomes headmaster at Colonial Salem House Grammar School in Port Middlebay.
Charles and Edwin (Ned). Benevolent businessmen who employ and befriend Nicholas Nickleby and his family. Frank Cheeryble, who marries Kate Nickleby, is their nephew.
Father of Flora Finching and landlord who gouges the residents of Bleeding Heart Yard through his collector, Pancks. Pancks later exposes Casby by cutting his long gray hair in front of the residents of Bleeding Heart Yard.
Herbert Pocket's fiancee, she cares for her invalid father, Old Bill Barley, in a waterside house at Mill Pond Bank where Magwitch is hidden. After her father's death she marries Herbert.
Mother of David Copperfield. A widow when David is born, she later is lured into marriage by Edward Murdstone, who destroys her spirit and she dies along with her newborn son while David is away at school.
David's devoted nurse and sister to Daniel Peggotty. After the death of David's mother she is discharged and marries Barkis. When Barkis dies she goes to live with David and Betsy Trotwood. David comically describes getting a hug from Peggotty: "She laid aside her work (which was a stocking of her own), and opening her arms wide, took my curly head within them, and gave it a good squeeze. I know it was a good squeeze, because, being very plump, whenever she made any little exertion after she was dressed, some of the buttons on the back of her gown flew off. And I recollect two bursting to the opposite side of the parlour, while she was hugging me".
Proprietors of a traveling Punch and Judy show that Nell and her grandfather meet on their travels through the English countryside.
Severe headmaster of Salem House Academy where David first goes to school. He was based on William Jones, headmaster of Wellington Academy which Dickens attended from 1825-1827.
Crotchety fisherman brother of Clare. He lives in an overturned boat on the beach at Yarmouth with Emily, Ham, and Mrs Gummidge. When Emily abandons them to elope with Steerforth, Daniel vows to find her. Steerforth later leaves Emily and she is re-united with Daniel. At the end of the novel Daniel, Emily, and Mrs Gummidge resettle in Australia.
An evil dwarf who lends money to Nell's grandfather who gambles it away and flees London with Nell in an attempt to avoid Quilp. Quilp attempts to find the pair as they travel through the country. Later Quilp is pursued by the police and, lost in the fog, drowns in the Thames.
Friend of Fred Trent who has designs to marry Fred's sister Nell Trent but is encouraged to wait until Nell has inherited her grandfather's money. When Nell and her grandfather leave London Swiveller is befriended by Quilp who helps him gain employment with the Brasses. While at the Brasses he meets their little half-starved servant the Marchioness. He becomes aware of the Brasses villainy and, with the Marchioness' help, exposes a plot to frame Kit Nubbles. Swiveller later inherits money from his aunt, puts the Marchioness through school, and later marries her.
Sharp dealing lawyers who dupe Mrs Bardell into bringing a breach of promise to marry suit against Samuel Pickwick.
Daughter of Gabriel and Martha, friend of Emma Haredale, loved by Joe Willet who she eventually marries.
Daughter of David's employer, Francis. She and David are married and David tries to teach her to keep house, but she has no head for it. She becomes ill with an unspecified illness and dies young. Dickens based Dora on Maria Beadnell, his first love.
A prisoner in the Bastille in Paris for eighteen years. He is released and accompanies his daughter, Lucie, and Jarvis Lorry to England. He returns to Paris after the outbreak of the revolution and, as a former prisoner, is able to secure Darnay's release from the revolutionaries. However, a statement written during Manette's long incarceration in the Bastille is later discovered and incriminates Darnay's family. Darnay is again imprisoned and later escapes when Sydney Carton takes his place.
Headmaster of the school in Brighton where Paul Dombey Jr attends. Blimber is assisted at the school by his wife and daughter Cornelia. Dickens describes Blimber as "a portly gentleman in a suit of black, with strings at the knees, and stockings below them. He had a bald head, highly polished; a deep voice; and a chin so very double, that it was a wonder how he ever managed to shave into the creases.
Drunken stonemason who engraves tombstones for Cloisterham Cathedral. John Jasper is interested in Durdles ability to tap on the tombs and discover their contents. Durdles hires Deputy to throw stones at him when he catches him wandering about drunk at night. "No man is better known in Cloisterham. He is the chartered libertine of the place. Fame trumpets him a wonderful workman - which, for aught that anybody knows, he may be (as he never works); and a wonderful sot - which everybody knows he is".
Probably Dickens' best known character, the miserly Scrooge, with his familiar cry of "Bah, Humbug!", is visited by the ghost of his former partner, Jacob Marley, who sends three more spirits in hopes of reforming Scrooge's heartless and penny-pinching ways.
Son of Mrs Merdle by a former marriage. A man of limited talents, he offers marriage to 'all manner of undesirable young ladies' finally marries Fanny Dorrit. Edmund and Fanny lose all in the Merdle banking scam.
Villainous son of Edwin and half-brother of Oliver Twist who plots with Fagin to corrupt Oliver, in which case Leeford will inherit all of their father's property. After the plan is foiled Leeford is forced to emigrate to America where he dies in prison.
Father of Oliver, whom he has fathered out of wedlock with Agnes Fleming. Also father of Edward (Monks) from a previous marriage. Edwin has died before the story begins.
Mr Peggotty's niece and David's childhood friend. She is later engaged to Ham but is lured away by the charms of David's friend Steerforth. Mr Peggotty is heartbroken and searches for her, finally finding her when Steerforth tires of her and she leaves him. She later emigrates to Australia with her uncle, Mr Peggotty.
Long suffering wife of Mr Micawber whom she swears she will never leave despite his financial difficulties. David describes her as "a thin and faded lady, not at all young, with a baby at her breast. This baby was one of twins; and I may remark here that I hardly ever, in all my experience of the family, saw both the twins detached from Mrs Micawber at the same time. One of them was always taking refreshment".
Husband of Madame Defarge and keeper of a wine shop in Paris. He is a leader among the revolutionaries.
Adopted as a child by Miss Havisham who teaches her to break men's hearts as revenge for Compeyson having left Miss Havisham at the altar years before. Pip meets Estella at Satis House and falls in love with her but she is cruel to him. Pip goes to London and becomes a gentleman and continues to adore Estella but she warns him that she is incapable of love. She later marries Bentley Drummle who mistreats her and she leaves him. Drummle dies and Estella and Pip meet two years later and vow to remain together. Estella is the daughter of Magwitch and Jagger's maid Molly.
Principal character in the story. She is brought up an orphan by her aunt, Miss Barbery. On her aunt's death she is adopted by John Jarndyce and becomes companions to his wards, Ada Clare and Richard Carstone. Later in the story it is revealed that Esther is the illegitimate daughter of Captain Hawdon and Lady Dedlock. John Jarndyce falls in love with her and asked her to marry him. She consents out of respect for Jarndyce but during the engagement she falls in love with Allan Woodcourt. When Jarndyce learns of her feelings for Allan he releases her from the engagement and she marries Woodcourt.
Lawyer and friend of Mortimer Lightwood. He becomes interested in the Harmon case and meets Lizzie Hexam and falls in love with her. She loves him also but tries to distance herself from him because they come from different classes of society. Lizzie leaves London to get away from Bradley Headstone, the school teacher who also loves her, and Wrayburn. Eugene finds her and is followed by Headstone who attempts to murder him. Lizzie nurses Wrayburn back to health and they are married.
A crafty old Jew who runs a thieve's school near Field Lane in Saffron Hill. Oliver falls in with Fagin's band when he runs away from the workhouse. When Fagin attempts to help Monks destroy Oliver's reputation he is arrested and executed at Newgate. Fagin was based on real-life Jewish fence (receiver of stolen property), Ikey Soloman (1758-1850).
First wife of Paul Dombey and mother of Florence and Paul Jr. at whose birth she dies.
Sister of Amy. A dancer with social aspirations, Fanny marries Edmund Sparkler, Step-son of Mr Merdle. Fanny and Sparkler lose everything in the Merdle banking scam.
Daughter of Wackford Squeers. Described as "not tall like her mother, but short like her father; from the former she inherited a voice of harsh quality; from the latter a remarkable expression of the right eye, something akin to having none at all". When Nicholas Nickleby becomes her fathers assistant she falls madly in love with him, telling her friend Matilda Price that they are practically engaged. Nicholas wants nothing to do with her.
Scrooge was apprenticed to 'Old Fezziwig' after he left school. Scrooge visits his old employer with the Ghost of Christmas Past and is reminded of what a kind, generous man he was.
Neglected daughter of Paul Dombey and sister of little Paul whom she nurses in his illness. She marries Walter Gay and is eventually reconciled with her father.
Shows Scrooge the demise of Tiny Tim and of himself, leading to Scrooge's reformation.
Shows Scrooge his lonely and difficult childhood and gradual decline into the miser he will become.
Shows Scrooge the joy that Christmas brings, both at the poor household of the Cratchits and at the home of his nephew Fred.
Hamilton and Anastasia Veneering. High society couple at whose frequent dinner parties the story of John Harmon is discovered. Hamilton buys his way into Parliament and is later bankrupt and the couple flees to France.
Orphaned nephew of Daniel Peggotty and fiance of Emily. A fisherman and boatbuilder. He drowns trying to rescue Steerforth. "He was a huge, strong fellow of six feet high, broad in proportion, and round-shouldered; but with a simpering boy's face and curly light hair that gave him quite a sheepish look. He was dressed in a canvas jacket, and a pair of such very stiff trousers that they would have stood quite as well alone, without any legs in them. And you couldn't so properly have said he wore a hat, as that he was covered in a-top, like an old building, with something pitchy".
Sister to James and John. Harriet lives with John and the two inherit James' fortune and donate it, anonymously, to Mr Dombey. Harriet later marries Mr Morfin.
Twin sister of Neville who, as the story ends prematurely, is falling in love with Canon Chrisparkle.
Lady Dedlock's French maid. She is dismissed in favor of Rosa and aids lawyer Tulkinghorn in discovering Lady Dedlock's secret. When Tulkinghorn spurns her she murders him. Hortense is based on Mrs Manning, a murderer whose execution Dickens witnessed in 1849.
Also known as the Artful Dodger, he is the most successful and interesting of Fagin's thieves. He shows Oliver the ropes of the pickpocket game and is later captured and sentenced to transportation.
Scrooge's former partner, who died seven Christmas Eves ago. Jacob, in life, was a penny-pinching miser like Scrooge and is suffering for it in the afterlife. His ghost comes to haunt Scrooge hoping to change Scrooge's life and therefore avoid Marley's fate.
Lawyer who serves Miss Havisham and Magwitch. It is through Jaggers that Pip receives the benefits of the great expectations that he assumes are from Miss Havisham but in reality the convict Magwitch is his benefactor.
Friend of David at the Salem House school where his engaging charm makes him everyone's favorite. David later runs into him again in London and he accompanies David on a trip to Yarmouth where he charms Emily into eloping with him. They go abroad and Steerforth soon tires of Emily and deserts her. He is later drowned in a shipwreck where Ham Peggotty, from whom Steerforth stole Emily away, dies trying to save him.
Mrs Jellyby is involved in many causes and charities but neglects her large family. Her eldest daughter, Caddy, marries Prince Turveydrop, the dance instructor. Dickens modeled Mrs Jellyby on Caroline Chisholm.
Blacksmith and friend to Pip, Joe is the husband of Pip's sister, who badly mistreats both Joe and Pip. After his wife's death Joe comes to London and nurses Pip through an illness. Later Joe marries Pip's friend Biddy.
Son of John who resents his fathers treatment of him, he joins the army and loses an arm in the American Revolution, later marries Dolly Varden. The couple become proprietors of the rebuilt Maypole Inn.
Son of a wealthy dust contractor and heir to his fortune if he agrees to marry Bella Wilfer. He is away from England when his father dies and on the way home he is supposed drowned in a case of mistaken identity. With his supposed death the dust fortune goes to Boffin. John gets himself hired into the Boffin home as secretary John Rokesmith. Here he meets Bella and, with the help of the Boffins, wins her love as Rokesmith, and marries her. He later reveals his true identity and regains his fortune.
Owner of Bleak House and party in the Chancery suit of Jarndyce and Jarndyce.He adopts Esther Summerson who becomes close friends with John's cousins, Ada Clare and Richard Carstone. John hates the lawsuit which has gone on for so long with no end in sight. Richard, however, becomes consumed with the case hoping it will make him his fortune. This obsession causes Carstone and Jarndyce suffer a falling out. Jarndyce falls in love with Esther and asked her to marry him, she accents because of her respect for him. Jarndyce later finds that Esther is in love with Woodcourt and releases her from their engagement.
Proprietor of the Maypole Inn and father of Joe. Father and son quarrel when John treats the adult Joe as a child and Joe leaves, joining the army. John witnesses the destruction of the Maypole by the rioters. He is later reconciled with his son who, along with wife Dolly, become proprietors of the rebuilt Maypole.
Son of Anthony Chuzzlewit, he attempts to kill his father to gain his inheritance. Marries Mercy Pecksniff and, through his cruelty, breaks her spirit. He murders Tigg, the murder is discovered, and on the way to prison poisons himself.
Coketown Banker, mill owner and "self-made man" proud that raised himself in the streets after being abandoned as a child. His story is exposed as a sham when Mrs Pegler, his loving mother whom he has discarded, is found. Bounderby marries his friend Gradgrind's daughter, Louisa and later discards her.
Sister of Nicholas. She is placed by her uncle, Ralph Nickleby, with Madame Mantalini. She is the object of the undesirable attentions of some of the evil-minded clients of her uncle who is using her to his advantage. She is rescued by Nicholas with the help of Newman Noggs. Later she marries Frank Cheeryble.
Kindly vintner and distiller in Holborn based on an historical figure. The Catholic Langdale shelters Geoffrey Haredale from the rioters. His home and warehouse are burned in the riots, his stores of spirits are consumed by the mob.
1750-1793 Historical figure and leader of the Gordon (anti-Catholic) Riots (1780)
Oldest daughter of Thomas. She marries Bounderby who she doesn't love. She later leaves her husband and returns to her father.
Daughter of Dr. Manette. She is taken to Paris by Jarvis Lorry when her father is released from prison. She marries Charles Darnay but is adored from afar by Sydney Carton who feels unfit for her. When Darnay is imprisoned in Paris by the revolutionaries Carton helps him escape, taking Darnay's place due to their resemblance. As Darnay and Lucie escape to England, Carton makes the supreme sacrifice.
Wife of wine shop keeper, Ernest Defarge, and a leader among the revolutionaries. She records enemies of the Republic in her knitting. She is killed in a struggle with Miss Pross in Paris.
Proprietors of a New York boarding house where Martin and Mark stay. The Major is typical of the scoundrels they meet in America.
Neighbor of Miss Tox and friend of Paul Dombey who introduces Paul to Edith Granger and Mrs Skewton. The Major describes himself as "tough, Sir, tough, and de-vilish sly!"
Dick Swiveller's nickname for the little servant kept locked below stairs by the Brasses. Swiveller later marries her.
Landlady of Samuel Pickwick in Goswell Street. Mrs Bardell is duped by unscrupulous lawyers, Dodson and Fogg, into bringing a breach of promise to marry suit against Pickwick. When Pickwick refuses to pay damages and is consigned to the Fleet prison, Dodson and Fogg sue Mrs Bardell for costs and have her consigned to the Fleet. Pickwick pays the penitent Bardell's costs to get her released.
Overbearing wife of Gabriel, mother of Dolly. A woman of "uncertain temper" and a fanatical protestant, her fanaticism is tempered after the riots when she witnesses the heroics of her husband
Barnaby's mother, goes to great lengths to keep Barnaby away from his father who has murdered Reuben Haredale.
Maid in the Varden household. Comically allies with Martha Varden against her husband. Miggs aids the rioters when they attempt to capture Gabriel. She is discharged after the riots and becomes a jailor in a woman's prison.
A very rich and grim old woman who lives in seclusion at Satis House. She is the adopted mother of Estella who she teaches to break men's hearts to avenge her own being left at the altar by Compeyson years before. She continues to wear her wedding dress and her room contains the yellowing remnants of the wedding day including the mouldy wedding cake. Pip goes to Miss Havisham's to play and meets Estella. Pip believes Miss Havisham is his secret benefactor as he goes to London and becomes a gentleman, finding out later that the convict Magwitch has supplied his "Expectations". Miss Havisham dies when her house burns down and leaves her fortune to Estella.
Con man and swindler who first appears in the story fronting for Chevy Slyme and trying to squeeze the assembled Chuzzlewit family for money. Later he appears in splendor as head of the fraudulent Anglo-Bengalee Disinterested Loan and Life Assurance Company and has changed his name to Tigg Montigue. He dupes Jonas Chuzzlewit into joining the company, uses Jonas to fleece Pecksniff, and is murdered by Jonas.
Boston doctor whom Martin and Mark meet at Pawkins' Boarding House in New York and one of the few positive characters they meet in the America. Bevan later loans them money to return to England.
An eccentric lodger at Betsy Trotwood's and friend of David Copperfield.
Assistant manager at Dombey and Son. Morfin aids John Carker when he overhears John's mistreatment at the hands of his brother James. Morfin later marries Harriet Carker.
Matron of the workhouse where Oliver is born. She marries Bumble making him miserable. The Bumbles are disgraced and end up as paupers in the workhouse they once ruled over.
Widow of Mr Peggotty's former partner in a boat, who had died very poor. She lives with Mr Peggotty and later emigrates to Australia with him. Quote: 'a lone lorn creetur' and everythink went contrary with her'.
Wife of Joe Gargery and sister of Pip who cruelly mistreats them both, frequently going "on the rampage" and employing "the tickler" to beat them with. She is beaten by Orlick and later dies.
Mother of Nicholas and Kate. Absent-minded and self-absorbed, she continues to "put on airs" even in the reduced situation of her family after the financial ruin and death of her husband. The character is heavily drawn from Dickens' mother.
Wife of Wackford Squeers: "a large raw-boned figure, was about half a head taller than Mr Squeers". While Mr Squeers attempts to keep his cruelty in check, in order to keep up appearances, Mrs Squeers is openly cruel.
Prostitute and member of Fagin's band of thieves. Befriends Oliver and is eventually murdered by Sikes trying to help Oliver escape Fagin's clutches.
Executioner at Tyburn, becomes involved in the Gordon Riots and is executed.
Known as Little Nell, she is the principal character in the story. She lives with her grandfather, when he falls into the clutches of Daniel Quilp she helps him escape London. The hardships endured during their wanderings are too much for the delicate Nell and she dies in a quiet village where she and her grandfather had gained employment.
Alias of Capt. Hawdon (Nemo is latin for nobody). Nemo is doing some law copying for Snagsby and is a boarder in Krook's rag and bottle shop when he dies of an opium overdose. He is later found to be the former lover of Lady Dedlock and the father of Esther Summerson.
Fence who buys Scrooge's bed linen from Mrs Dilber when Scrooge is shown the future by the Ghost of Christmas Future .
Powerful head of the House of Dombey. He wants a son, and when a daughter (Florence) is born he despises her. His second child, a son (Paul), is weak and sickly and dies a child. Paul's first wife dies with the birth of Paul Jr and he remarries. His second wife, Edith Granger, does not love him and eventually runs away with Carker, a manager at the firm. With Carker gone, Paul is incapable of managing the business and it fails. Paul ends his days reconciled with his daughter and doting on his grandchildren, little Paul, but especially little Florence.
The long hoped-for heir to the house of Dombey and Son. His mother dies at his birth leaving him a frail and sickly child. His father sends him to Brighton in the care of Mrs Pipchin hoping the sea air will bolster his failing health. He then attends Dr. Blimber's school and his health continues to decline. Paul returns home to London and dies in the care of his sister, Florence, leaving the firm of Dombey and Son without an heir. Dickens modeled Paul (and also Tiny Tim) on his sister Fanny's crippled son Henry Burnett Jr.
Principal character of the book. Brought up "by hand" by his sister, Mrs Joe Gargery, twenty years his senior, who mistreats him along with her husband, Joe Gargery. Pip meets Magwitch on the marshes after his escape from the prison ship and brings him food. Magwitch is recaptured and sent away to Australia where he prospers. Pip is introduced to Miss Havisham, an eccentric old woman, and her charge, Estella, who Pip falls in love with. Estella has been taught by Miss Havisham to break men's hearts as restitution for Miss Havisham's having been left at the altar years before. Pip begins to receive money through an unknown source. He becomes a gentleman, goes to London, and drifts away from early friends. Pip eventually learns that his benefactor is not Miss Havisham, as he believes, but the convict, Magwitch.
Joe Gargary's uncle ("but Mrs Joe appropriated him"), hypocritical and well-to-do corn-chandler in the nearest town, and drove his own chaise-cart. He takes Pip to meet Miss Havisham and takes credit for arranging Pips "great expectations". "A large hard-breathing middle-aged slow man, with a mouth like a fish, dull staring eyes, and sandy hair standing upright on his head, so that he looked as if he had just been all but choked".
Uncle to Nicholas and Kate (and later we find, father of Smike). A rich and miserly moneylender who feigns to help his late brother's family but, in reality, tries to humiliate Nicholas and use Kate to his own advantage. His evil plans and schemes prove his ultimate undoing and he eventually hangs himself.
'An old Jewish man, in an ancient coat, long of skirt and wide of pocket' who fronts Fledgeby's money-lending business. He befriends Lizzie Hexam and Jenny Wren.
Villain of the novel. Rigaud attempts to blackmail Mrs Clennam and has her house fall on him for his efforts. "When Monsieur Rigaud laughed, a change took place in his face, that was more remarkable than prepossessing. His moustache went up under his nose, and his nose came down over his moustache, in a very sinister and cruel manner".
Retired businessman and founder and chairman of the Pickwick Club. Pickwick, along with his friends, Tupman, Snodgrass, and Winkle and his servant, Sam Weller, travel around England in search of adventure. Pickwick is one Dickens most loved characters and his story propelled Dickens to literary stardom.
Mr Pickwick's servant is one of the most popular characters in Dickens' works. He counsels his master with Cockney wisdom and is thoroughly devoted to Pickwick. Samuel's father, Tony Weller, is equally entertaining.
Sanctimonious surveyor and architect "who has never designed or built anything", and one of the biggest hypocrites in fiction. Father of daughters Mercy and Charity. In an effort to gain old Martin's money he embraces then throws out young Martin at old Martin's wish. When long time servant Tom Pinch learns of Pecksniff's treachery he is also thrown out. Pecksniff's self-serving designs are eventually exposed by Old Martin who reconciles with his grandson, young Martin. Dickens' description of Pecksniff's hypocrisy is telling: "Some people likened him to a direction-post, which is always telling the way to a place, and never goes there".
Member of Parliament who condescendingly calls himself "the poor man's friend and father" and exhorts Trotty to "Live hard and temperately, be respectful, exercise your self-denial, bring up your family on next to nothing, pay your rent as regularly as the clock strikes, be punctual in your dealings". His wife is Lady Bowley.
Abandoned as a child at Dotheboys Hall in the care of the evil Squeers, Smike is mistreated for years before being rescued by Nicholas. He travels to Portsmouth with Nicholas and performs in Crummles stage troupe and is welcomed as part of the family when he and Nicholas return to London. He is briefly retaken in London by Squeers and escapes with the help of John Browdie. Smike later dies from the treatment he received as a child. After his death it is discovered that he was Ralph Nickleby's son, making him the cousin of Nicholas and Kate.
Shady lawyer whom Tony Weller engages to arrange Samuel Weller's imprisonment in the Fleet in order to be with his master, Samuel Pickwick.
Lawyer who is able to get a charge of treason reversed for Charles Darnay due to a strong physical resemblance. He later takes Darnay's place at the guillotine. Quote: It is a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done, it is a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known.
A mill owner retired from business and father of Louisa and Tom. He runs a school and emphasizes the importance of facts and figures over fancy to his students and his children. By the end of the story he learns that facts and figures must be tempered by love and forbearance.
Crippled son of Bob Cratchit. The forecast of Tim's death by the Ghosts of Christmas Present and Future is instrumental in Scrooge's reformation after which Tim is afforded proper medical attention and is cured. Dickens based Tiny Tim (and also Paul Dombey Jr) on his sister Fanny's crippled son Henry Burnett Jr.
Poor ticket porter whose dream on New Year's Eve forms the basis of the story.
Son of Thomas. He is employed at Bounderby's bank from whom he later steals, the blame is set on Stephen Blackpool. He later leaves the country with the aid of Sleary and his circus troupe.
Father of Sam Weller, a coachman and repository of Cockney wisdom. His wife, Susan, is proprietor of the Marquis and Granby Inn in Dorking. Susan falls in with the hypocritical Reverend Stiggins, of the Brick Lane Temperance Association, who the frequently imbibing Tony later exposes.
Scatterbrained classmate of Paul Dombey Jr at Dr Blimber's Academy. Toots falls helplessly in love with Florence Dombey and pursues her, in his absentminded way, until Florence marries Walter Gay. In the end Toots marries Susan Nipper. Quote: "it's of no consequence".
A hypocritical clerk of Mr Wickfield's who is continually citing his humbleness. He deviously plots to ruin Wickfield but is later undone by Mr Micawber. On their first meeting, David describes him as "a red-haired person - a youth of fifteen, as I take it now, but looking much older - whose hair was cropped as close as the closest stubble; who had hardly any eyebrows, and no eyelashes, and eyes of a red-brown, so unsheltered and unshaded, that I remember wondering how he went to sleep. He was high-shouldered and bony; dressed in decent black, with a white wisp of a neckcloth; buttoned up to the throat; and had a long, lank, skeleton hand, which particularly attracted my attention, as he stood at the pony's head, rubbing his chin with it, and looking up at us in the chaise. He had a way of writhing when he wanted to express enthusiasm, which was very ugly" Uriah Heep, wonderfully hideous, is one of Dickens' greatest triumphs in character creation. His description of Heep's writhing and scheming, and his cold, clammy nature, makes one's skin crawl.
Son of schoolmaster Wackford Squeers. Little Wackford is kept fat as an advertisement of the supposed plenty provided at the school. He is spoiled by being given any gifts intended for pupils of the school by their families.
Proprietor of Dotheboys Hall, he took in boys who were not wanted by their families and mistreated them. Nicholas Nickleby becomes his assistant master but sees the way he treats his charges, gives him a sound thrashing, and leaves. Squeers seeks revenge and conspires with Ralph Nickleby. He is eventually undone, imprisoned, and transported.
Enters the story when David takes lodging at his home. Continually in debt and looking for "something to turn up" he ends up in debtor's prison. On his release he rambles through the story in various occupations eventually employed at Mr Wickfield's office where he exposes the dastardly deeds of Uriah Heep. In gratitude for this his debts are paid and he emigrates to Australia, where he prospers. David describes him as "a stoutish, middle-aged person, in a brown surtout and black tights and shoes, with no more hair upon his head (which was a large one, and very shining) than there is upon an egg, and with a very extensive face. His clothes were shabby, but he had an imposing shirt-collar on. He carried a jaunty sort of a stick, with a large pair of rusty tassels to it; and a quizzing-glass hung outside his coat, - for ornament, I afterwards found, as he very seldom looked through it, and couldn't see anything when he did". The character is drawn heavily on Dickens' father.
Father of Amy (title character), Fanny, and Edward, and long-time inmate of the Marshalsea debtor's prison. He inherits an estate and leaves the prison, traveling in style with his daughters. After his death Amy learns that his fortune has been lost in the Merdle banking scam.
Unscrupulous agent of the Eden Land Corporation who sells swamp land to Martin. "He was a gaunt man in a huge straw hat, and a coat of green stuff. The weather being hot, he had no cravat, and wore his shirt collar wide open; so that every time he spoke something was seen to twitch and jerk up in his throat, like the little hammers in a harpsichord when the notes are struck. Perhaps it was the Truth feebly endeavouring to leap to his lips. If so, it never reached them."
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