Behind the names: The Austen characters you need to know

Feisty feminist heroines and dashing handsome heros.

Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice

austen characters

The most popular Austen heroine, Lizzy’s headstrong nature and complex relationship with Mr Darcy have captivated and inspired generations

Elinor Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility

austen characters

One of Austen’s most complex characters (Emma Thompson was nominated for an Oscar in the role). She is as passionate as her sister and is governed by her strict sense of propriety

Mary Crawford, Mansfield Park

austen characters

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Curiously, it’s more tempting to side with her than with the heroine, Fanny. Mary is intelligent and captivating, but her shallow nature lets her down

Emma Woodhouse, Emma

austen charactersShe isn’t interested in getting married, making for a fascinating heroine of the time. Her flaws are flaunted from the start, but her warm heart makes you eager to forgive them

Isabella Thorpe, Northanger Abbey

austen characters

The scenes describing her quite literal pursuits of men on the streets of Bath will make you laugh out loud

Capt Frederick Wentworth, Persuasion

austen characters

The last hero Austen created before her death, he’s different to the rest—he’s not a member of the landed gentry, but makes his own fortune through hard work and good sense