Sheridan Le Fanu

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on Carmilla makes teaching easy.


Laura is the book’s protagonist and narrator, who retells as an adult her adolescent experiences with the vampire Carmilla. As a child, Laura lives a lonely and sheltered life with her father and governesses… read analysis of Laura


Carmilla, also known as Mircalla and Millarca, is the story’s eponymous antagonist. A vampire from an old aristocratic family, she appears eternally as a beautiful young woman and preys on vulnerable young women to whom… read analysis of Carmilla

Laura’s Father

Laura’s father is a widower who takes care of Laura in their schloss with the help of her two governesses and a handful of servants. He is English, but he served in the Austrian military… read analysis of Laura’s Father

General Spielsdorf

Bertha Reinfeldt’s devoted uncle and guardian, and a friend of Laura’s father. Though General Spielsdorf once refused to believe in the supernatural and relied wholly on scientific and rational explanation to understand the world… read analysis of General Spielsdorf

Baron Vordenburg

A descendant of the hero who vanquished vampires from the region around the ruined Karnstein estate. He is a strange looking man: tall, narrow-chested, and stooping, with long hair and a pair of gold glasses… read analysis of Baron Vordenburg
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Bertha Rheinfeldt

The General’s niece, who develops a brief infatuation with Carmilla after they meet at a masquerade. She is bitten and killed by the vampire before the events of the main text, which makes her unable… read analysis of Bertha Rheinfeldt

Carmilla’s Mother

After surviving a carriage accident outside of Laura’s home, Carmilla’s mother leaves her daughter in the care of Laura’s father, claiming that she must continue on an urgent journey and will return for… read analysis of Carmilla’s Mother

Madame Perrodon

Laura’s governess who lives with Laura and her father at their schloss. She takes on a motherly role in Laura’s life, as her good nature fills the gap left by the death of Laura’s motherread analysis of Madame Perrodon

Doctor Hesselius

The doctor whose casebook is the source of the story. After becoming interested in Laura’s case, the doctor began a correspondence with Laura about her experiences, on which he based a medical essay. The unnamed… read analysis of Doctor Hesselius


A deformed hunchback with a pointed black beard who sells Carmilla and Laura charms to ward off vampires, as well as evil dreams and spirits. He is dressed in black and scarlet and he carries… read analysis of Hunchback


Another doctor, an old man of around sixty with a shaved pale face, whom Laura’s father calls to ask about the illness that has been infecting the peasant girls in the nearby villages. They speak… read analysis of Doctor

Moravian Nobleman

A nobleman who originally vanquished the vampire in the village near the Karnstein estate by cutting off its head. He is the ancestor of the Baron Vordenburg, and a lover of the Countess Mircalla/Carmillaread analysis of Moravian Nobleman
Minor Characters
Mademoiselle De Lafontaine
Laura’s finishing governess who also lives with them. She speaks French and English, and she is in charge of Laura’s education. Like Madame Perrodon, she is also taken with Carmilla.
Doctor Spielsberg
The doctor who examines Laura and warns her father of the true cause of her illness.
Son of the picture cleaner
The man who delivers the portrait of Mircalla Karnstein. He presents the portraits to Laura, her father, and Carmilla.
Old man who takes care of the lands surrounding the old Karnstein mansion. He informs them about the vampires that had attacked the villages before being defeated by a Moravian nobleman. He later returns to help them unearth Carmilla’s tomb.
First Physician
The first doctor who examines Bertha. He laughs at the suggestion of supernatural causes for her illness.
Physician from Gratz
Physician who examines Bertha and tells the General she has been bitten by a vampire. Although the General is skeptical of the existence of the supernatural, he decides to listen to the physician out of a desperate desire to save his niece.
Another physician whom Laura’s father calls to check Carmilla when she first comes to stay with them.
Various servants who attend the schloss and work in service of Laura and her father.
A priest enlisted by Laura’s father to rid Laura of the sickness caused by the vampire bite.
Old clergyman
Old man who visits Laura and prays with her after she dreams of Carmilla for the first time.
Laura’s Mother
Laura’s mother was a Styrian woman who died in Laura’s infancy. She never appears in the text.
Servants in the carriage
Strange looking men who attended Carmilla and her mother in their carriage, but did not themselves get out. Madame Perrodon, Mademoiselle De Lafontaine, and Laura’s father comment on their grotesque appearance, with their lean, dark, and sullen faces.
Hideous woman
An ugly woman with dark skin whom Mademoiselle De Lafontaine saw in the carriage. She claims the woman had a colored turban on her head, gleaming eyes, and large white eyeballs.
Young peasant girl
A pretty young peasant girl whose funeral procession Laura and Carmilla witness passing them by in the forest. She was the daughter of one of the rangers of the forest, and the funeral hymns cause Carmilla to enter into a hysterical fit.