The protagonist of the novel, Emma Woodhouse is the rich, beautiful, and privileged mistress of Hartfield. She lives a comfortable life with her elderly father, running the house and organizing social invitations within the high… (read full character analysis)
The long-time friend and trusted confidante of the Woodhouses, Emma’s brother-in-law. Mr. Knightley is a true gentleman in lineage, estate, and virtue. He lives at Donwell Abbey, the spacious estate that he manages. He… (read full character analysis)
Mr. Weston’s son and Mrs. Weston’s stepson. Raised by his aunt and uncle in Enscombe, Frank is anticipated as a suitor for Emma, though his real love is Jane. His lively… (read full character analysis)
Miss Bates’s niece and Mrs. Bates’s granddaughter. As another accomplished and beautiful young woman of similar age, Jane incites Emma’s jealousy and admiration. Her reserved temperament frustrates Emma, even as Emma admires… (read full character analysis)
A sweet-looking young woman of uncertain parentage who boards at Mrs. Goddard’s school. Harriet is pretty and good-tempered, but simple-minded. She adores Emma, who socially takes her under her wing.
Formerly Emma’s governess and beloved companion, Miss Taylor marries Mr. Weston to become Mrs. Weston at the novel’s start. She is kind and dedicated to Emma, whom she has pampered as a child.
Husband to Mrs. Weston and owner of Randalls. Mr. Weston is agreeable and sociable, delighting in his friends and his son by a previous marriage, Frank Churchill.
The vicar of Highbury. Well-respected and generally liked, Mr. Elton initially seems like an agreeable, if somewhat fawning, young man. However, his subsequent behavior towards Harriet reveals him to be conceited and superficial.
Mr. Robert Martin
A young farmer living at Abbey-Mill Farm with his mother and sisters. Mr. Martin is sensible, good-hearted, and generous, and though he comes from a lower class of farmers, Mr. Knightley attributes some virtues of real gentility to him in his kindness.
The middle-aged spinster aunt of Jane Fairfax. Miss Bates is a middle-aged, garrulous spinster with neither beauty, nor fortune, nor wit. However, her good temperament and kindness render her generally well liked in the neighborhood.
Miss Bates’s mother and Jane’s grandmother.
Emma’s older sister and Mr. John Knightley’s wife.
Mr. John Knightley
Mr. Knightley’s brother and Emma’s brother-in-law.
Mr. Elton’s wife from Bath, formerly Miss Augusta Hawkins. Mrs. Elton lands on the scene as a self-important, vain, and vulgar woman, and very full of what she has (which is limited to some fortune and a rich brother-in-law).
Frank Churchill’s aunt and guardian, and Mr. Weston’s former sister-in-law. Mrs. Churchill is a snobbish and domineering woman who exerts considerable influence over her husband and Frank.
Mrs. Churchill’s husband and Frank’s guardian.
Jane’s guardian and adoptive parent who cares for Jane after his friend—Jane’s father—dies in combat.
Colonel Campbell’s daughter and Jane’s childhood friend.
Husband to the Campbell’s daughter. Emma suspects that there was a romantic involvement between Jane and Mr. Dixon, prior to his marriage.
Mistress of the local boarding school where Harriet Smith boards.
Mr. Woodhouse’s favored doctor in the neighborhood.
Mr. Martin’s sister and Harriet’s friend, during their early acquaintance.
Mr. and Mrs. Cole
A nouveau-riche family of tradespeople. Emma considers the Coles to be below her social set, and she desires to teach them a lesson about their inferior social standing by turning down their dinner invitation.