The novel's hero, Oliver Twist is aged nine at the beginning of the novel, and several years older by the end (it is not clear exactly how much time elapses; he is probably about twelve)… (read full character analysis)
Oliver's unwed mother, Agnes was engaged to Oliver's father, Edward, but Edward died before they could be married; Agnes was pregnant when Edward died. Agnes gives birth to Oliver in a poorhouse, since her… (read full character analysis)
Married first to Monks' mother, and then engaged to Agnes Fleming, Oliver's father dies in Rome after having claimed his inheritance, which he intended to pass on to Oliver and Agnes. This money… (read full character analysis)
A man who becomes Oliver's adopted father at the end of the novel, Brownlow is robbed earlier in the novel by Bates and the Dodger, only to think that Oliver, who was with those… (read full character analysis)
One of the novel's trio of antagonists, Fagin is in charge of the "boys," his thieves, and their exploits pay for his life in London. Fagin attempts to make Oliver a thief, but fails; Fagin… (read full character analysis)
The second of the novel's antagonists, Monks is Oliver's half-brother, and is hellbent on keeping his own fraudulent inheritance by eliminating all traces of Oliver's inheritance, and on making Oliver into a thief so that… (read full character analysis)
A young thief of Fagin's who is always joking and laughing, Bates undergoes a moral transformation in the novel: from ironic young criminal to defender of goodness after Bates realizes Sikes has killed Nancy… (read full character analysis)
Sikes' romantic partner, Nancy at first takes Oliver back to Fagin but later expresses regret for this, and attempts to protect Oliver as much as she can. After talking one night to Rose and Brownlow… (read full character analysis)
Mrs. Maylie's niece, Rose helps nurse Oliver back to health, only to catch sick later herself. Rose is in love with Harry, but social barriers (her low social standing) keep their marriage from occurring… (read full character analysis)
Rose's cousin, Harry is poised for a "brilliant" career in politics, but he renounces this, and takes on the life of a village parson, in order to marry Rose, who believes she is far too… (read full character analysis)
The village beadle of Oliver's home village, Mr. Bumble is another, more minor antagonist in the novel—he hates Oliver, and eventually marries Mrs. Bumble in order to take over the poorhouse's control, such that he… (read full character analysis)
Oliver's nurse when he lives, briefly, with Brownlow early in the novel. Mrs. Bedwin is Brownlow's maid. She never believes that Oliver is not virtuous, even when Oliver disappears.
Brownlow's cantankerous friend, Grimwig does not believe, initially, in Oliver's virtue, and commonly uses the expression, "I'll eat my hat." At the end of the novel, he enjoys joking about how he used to not believe in Oliver's goodness, once Oliver proves it.
Mr. and Mrs. Sowerberry
A coffin-maker and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Sowerberry take Oliver in as an apprentice after the workhouse. Sowerberry takes something of a liking to Oliver, and makes him a "mute" mourner at funerals, but Mrs. Sowerberry never likes or trusts Oliver.
An older apprentice to Sowerberry, Noah picks a fight with Oliver and ends up blaming Oliver for it; he later makes his way to London and winds up serving as a spy for Fagin, overhearing Nancy's conversation with Brownlow and Rose.
Noah's partner and lover, Charlotte goes with Noah to London, and at the end of the novel, the two have become a con-men pair in the city.
The third of the novel's antagonists, Sikes is a brutal "housebreaker," or robber, who takes Oliver with him on the failed robbery of the Maylies' house. Sikes later kills Nancy in a fit of rage, and accidentally kills himself while fleeing an angry mob.
The Artful Dodger
The most skilled of Fagin's young boy-thieves, the Artful Dodger is a talented pickpocket and card-shark. The Artful Dodger is caught by the police for stealing a snuff box late in the novel, and is observed, by Noah, being sent to jail in a triumphant and defiant manner.
One of Nancy's fellow female thieves, Bet has a small part in the novel, and is mostly notable for being the object of Tom Chitling's romantic interest.
Rose's aunt, Mrs. Maylie takes care of Rose after the "blight" on Rose's family name, deriving from Agnes Fleming's pregnancy and death. Agnes, it is revealed later, is Rose's sister.
Another housebreaker, Toby accompanies Sikes and Oliver on the robbery of the Maylies' house. It is revealed that Crackit is something of a coward, as he runs away at the first sound of gunshots, after the robbery is botched.
Another of the young robbers in Fagin's gang, Tom is mostly notable for his love of Bet and his dim wit—he is beaten by the Dodger repeatedly in cards.
Mrs. Bumble (Mrs. Corney)
Married to Bumble, Mrs. Bumble takes a package from Old Sally once belonging to Agnes, and sells this information to Monks. This small crime causes the Bumbles to lose their social station and, eventually, to wind up in the poorhouse they once managed.
A maid at the poorhouse annex near which Oliver was born, Mrs. Mann is in charge of Oliver very early in his life, before he is sent to work in the poorhouse for adults.
The man in the white waistcoat
A member of the poorhouse's board, the man in the white waistcoat is notable for shouting, constantly, that he believes Oliver will one day be hanged for his "vices."
A small friend of Oliver's at the workhouse, Dick gives Oliver a blessing when Oliver is running away to London near the beginning of the novel. Oliver hopes, at the novel's end, to return this blessing, but does not have the chance, as Dick, sadly, has died.
Giles and Brittles
Two servants of the Maylie household, Giles accidentally shoots the "robber" who winds up being Oliver, and Brittles, with Giles, seeks out the "robber" that night, only to have Oliver stumble back to the house the next day.
Another of Fagin's associates, Barney works at the Cripples, a pub with which Fagin is involved, and where criminals often meet. Barney is notable for speaking with a constant headcold.
Oliver's father's first wife, Monks' mother takes a good deal of Oliver's inheritance for herself and for Monks.
The woman who nursed Agnes just as she was giving birth to Oliver, Old Sally dies later in the novel, and Mrs. Bumble takes from her a small package that she (Mrs. Bumble) later sells to Monks.