The novel’s eponymous protagonist, a middle-aged, upper-class lady throwing a party. Clarissa is married to the conservative politician Richard Dalloway but is deeply affected by her past love for Sally Seton and her rejection of… (read full character analysis)
A World War I veteran in his thirties, Septimus suffers from shell shock, or PTSD. He was once an aspiring poet, but after enlisting in the war for idealistic reasons and the death of his… (read full character analysis)
Clarissa’s husband, a Conservative politician in Parliament. Richard is a relatively simple, uninteresting man, but he is kind, philanthropic, and loves his wife and daughter.
Clarissa’s old friend from Bourton, the epitome of English charm, tradition, and conservative values. He is vain, pompous, and always well-dressed. Clarissa and Lady Bruton think him kind, but Peter and Sally hate him and what he stands for.
Lucrezia Smith (Rezia)
Septimus’s twenty-four-year-old wife, an Italian woman who left Milan to marry Septimus. She is a skilled hatmaker and usually a playful, loving woman, but grows unhappy and lonely as Septimus’s mental illness increases.
A woman whom Clarissa loved passionately as a teen at Bourton. Sally was once radical and bombastic, and she and Clarissa shared a kiss that Clarissa considers the highlight of her life. Sally ends up marrying a rich man and having five boys.
Clarissa’s seventeen-year-old daughter, a quiet girl who prefers the country and dogs to London and parties. She has an exotic beauty that is beginning to attract attention. She respects both her mother and Miss Kilman, but recognizes their differences.
Elizabeth’s history tutor, a poor, unattractive woman who always wears a mackintosh. Miss Kilman is bitter and self-pitying, constantly feeling that she has been robbed of happiness. She is very religious and tries to convert Elizabeth to Christianity. Miss Kilman hates Clarissa but loves Elizabeth possessively.
Sir William Bradshaw
A famous London psychiatrist. Sir William subscribes to the worldview of “proportion,” and he bullies his patients into converting to his views, all while ingratiating himself to everyone else. He recommends that Septimus be separated from Rezia and sent to an institution.
An elderly upper-class lady who is descended from a famous general. She is friends with Richard Dalloway, who admires her strength and respectability. Lady Bruton is traditional, conservative, and devoted to the idea of emigration to Canada.
A general practitioner who treats Septimus. Holmes claims that Septimus is perfectly healthy, just “in a funk”, and needs to get a hobby. Septimus comes to despise Holmes and thinks of him as the embodiment of repulsive human nature.
Clarissa’s aunt who has one glass eye, a relic of an older, stricter English society. Aunt Helena was a botanist and likes to talk about Burma and orchids. She finds Sally’s youthful behavior appalling, especially Sally’s penchant for cutting off the heads of flowers.
Clarissa’s poor, dull cousin. Ellie is socially awkward and shy, but she enjoys watching the influential people at Clarissa’s party. She has a companion named Edith.
Septimus’s friend and officer in World War I. The two became very close, possibly even falling in love, but then Evans was killed. Septimus subsequently loses the ability to feel, and eventually starts hallucinating Evans’s presence.
One of the Dalloway servants who idolizes Clarissa.
Hugh’s wife, a wealthy lady who is perpetually ill.
Sir William’s wife. She was once an independent woman but had her will subsumed into her husband’s fifteen years before.
The Prime Minister
The head of the British Cabinet. In the novel the Prime Minister acts as a symbol of outdated tradition and conservatism. He briefly visits Clarissa’s party.
Peter’s lover in India, a twenty-four-year-old woman who is married to an Army Major.
A woman Clarissa idolizes. She is dark and imposing, and once opened a bazaar.
The owner of the flower shop. Clarissa did her an unknown favor in the past.
A young woman visiting London from Edinburgh, who finds the big city strange.
The old woman across the way
Clarissa’s neighbor. Clarissa watches the old woman in the privacy of her own room and is comforted about the independence of the soul.
The old woman singing
An old woman begging for change and singing a song about love and death.
Lady Bruton’s assistant, a charmless woman who hates Hugh but likes Richard.
The Smiths’ neighbor, Rezia’s only friend in London.
Miss Isabel Pole
A poet and Shakespeare teacher whom Septimus loved before the war.
An older woman who regrets her youth.
A little girl who runs into Lucrezia’s legs.
Clarissa’s sister, who was killed by a falling tree.
Ellie Henderson’s unexplained companion, possibly her partner.
Septimus’s boss before World War I, at the firm of “Sibleys and Arrowsmiths, auctioneers, valuers, land and estate agents.” He thought that Septimus had potential to rise in his field if he could keep his health.
The married daughter of Septimus and Lucrezia's neighbor, Mrs. Filmer.
A failed painter who attends Clarissa's party.
An old woman who attends Clarissa's party, and moves Clarissa to tears by commenting that Clarissa looks like her mother.
An old homeless woman who Richard sees while walking in the park. She laughs at him. She makes him think of "the problem of vagrancy" but he doesn't have much interest in her as an individual.
An old man who Septimus sees moments before throwing himself out of his window, to his death.