David Copperfield

David Copperfield

David Copperfield Characters

David Copperfield

David Copperfield is both the protagonist and narrator of the novel, which takes the form of his autobiography and follows his life from birth to marriage and family. He is the son of Clara and… (read full character analysis)

Agnes Wickfield

Agnes Wickfield is the daughter of Mr. Wickfield, a lawyer with whom David boards while attending Doctor Strong's school. Agnes and David become good friends growing up together, although in Agnes's case, this… (read full character analysis)

Miss Betsey Trotwood

Betsey Trotwood is David's great-aunt on his father's side. Although she disapproved of David Copperfield's marriage to Clara, she is present for David's birth because she hopes the child will be a girl… (read full character analysis)

James Steerforth

James Steerforth one of David’s classmates at Salem School. The two become close friends, but the relationship dynamic is uneven; Steerforth is charismatic, wealthy, and several years older than David, so many of their… (read full character analysis)

Dora Spenlow

Dora Spenlow is David's first wife and Mr. Spenlow’s daughter. Mr. Spenlow is a proctor for whom David is working when he and Dora first meet. She and David develop a youthful infatuation with… (read full character analysis)
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Uriah Heep

Uriah Heep is one of the novel's primary antagonists, becoming the main villain shortly after David escapes from Mr. Murdstone's control. He is initially introduced as an apprentice at Mr. Wickfield's legal practice… (read full character analysis)

Little Em'ly (Emily)

Little Em'ly is the niece of Mr. Peggotty, who raises her and her cousin Ham (both are orphans whose fathers have died at sea). David meets her on a childhood trip to Yarmouth, where… (read full character analysis)

Tommy Traddles

Tommy Traddles is David’s classmate and friend from Salem House. He is an unusually cheerful boy, particularly given that he receives more abuse from Mr. Creakle than any of the other students. What's more… (read full character analysis)

Peggotty

Clara Peggotty, who goes by Peggotty, is the Copperfield family servant, acting as Clara Copperfield‘s housekeeper and David’s nurse. She is exceptionally loyal to the family and refuses to desert Clara Copperfield even… (read full character analysis)

Mr. Dick

Mr. Dick is a "distant connexion" of Miss Betsey who now lives with her. Technically, he is one of David's guardians, but in practice he functions more as a friend than as a parent… (read full character analysis)

Mr. Murdstone

Edward Murdstone is Clara Copperfield's second husband, whom she marries when David is roughly eight. Murdstone is handsome and capable of being quite charming, although David instinctively distrusts him from the start (probably in… (read full character analysis)

Mr. Micawber

Wilkins Micawber is married to Mrs. Micawber, with whom he has several children. He is a "shabby" but "genteel" man who is perpetually in debt. He speaks in flowery language—a sign that he aspires… (read full character analysis)

Clara Copperfield

Clara Copperfield is David's mother. She married his father (also named David) at a very young age, and never fully matures herself; she has no skill when it comes to managing the household, for… (read full character analysis)

Mrs. Micawber

Emma Micawber is Mr. Micawber’s wife. She is perpetually stressed and overworked, both because of her husband's financial difficulties and because the couple has a large (and growing) number of children. Nevertheless, she is… (read full character analysis)

Miss Murdstone

Jane Murdstone is Mr. Murdstone's sister; she comes to live at the Rookery following her brother's marriage to Clara Copperfield, ostensibly to relieve Clara of some of the housework. Miss Murdstone resembles her… (read full character analysis)

Mr. Peggotty

Daniel Peggotty is Peggotty’s brother and little Em'ly and Ham Peggotty’s uncle. He works as a fisherman in Yarmouth, where he lives in a beached boat that he has converted into a house… (read full character analysis)

Ham Peggotty

Ham Peggotty is Mr. Peggotty's nephew and little Em’ly's cousin. He shares both his uncle's generous nature and his reliance on the sea for a living: he is a boat-builder by trade. Despite… (read full character analysis)

Mr. Wickfield

Mr. Wickfield is Miss Betsey's lawyer and friend, who graciously allows David to board with him while attending Doctor Strong's school. He is a widower and consequently dotes on his daughter Agnes(read full character analysis)

Rosa Dartle

Rosa Dartle is an orphaned relation of James Steerforth; after the death of Rosa's parents, Mrs. Steerforth engaged her as a companion. Rosa and Steerforth therefore grew up together and at one point were… (read full character analysis)

Doctor Strong

Doctor Strong is the headmaster of the school David attends in Canterbury. He is an aging, scholarly man whose primary goal in life is to develop a new dictionary. Nevertheless, he is extremely considerate of… (read full character analysis)

Annie Strong

Annie Strong is Doctor Strong’s wife. She is much younger than her husband, who had previously been a friend of her father's. Combined with the fact that Annie once had a childhood romance with… (read full character analysis)

Mr. Mell

Mr. Mell is the junior teacher at Salem House. Despite being a kind and intelligent man, he is unable to accomplish much as a teacher thanks to the overall atmosphere of brutality at the school… (read full character analysis)

Mr. Creakle

Mr. Creakle is the headmaster at Salem House and is a soft-spoken but extremely violent man. His background is in business rather than education, and he has no real interest in his students except as… (read full character analysis)

Mrs. Heep

Mrs. Heep Uriah Heep’s widowed mother. She loves her son obsessively and shares many traits with him—above all, a self-serving insistence on her own "humbleness." David first meets Mrs. Heep when he goes to… (read full character analysis)

Mr. Barkis

Mr. Barkis is a cart driver who frequently takes David back and forth from the Rookery to Yarmouth. He rarely speaks (and then only in very short sentences), but he develops a lasting admiration for… (read full character analysis)

Martha Endell

Martha is a Yarmouth woman who used to go to school with little Em'ly. By the time both women are grown, however, Martha has become an outcast; the strong implication is that she has… (read full character analysis)

Jack Maldon

Jack Maldon is the ne'er-do-well cousin of Annie Strong. The two were childhood sweethearts but later grew apart—probably because of Maldon's self-absorption and laziness. Maldon continues to hang around Annie after her marriage to… (read full character analysis)

Mrs. Markleham

Mrs. Markleham is Annie Strong's mother. She lives with her daughter and son-in-law, and becomes known as the "Old Soldier" amongst Doctor Strong's students because she is constantly strategizing about how to manipulate the… (read full character analysis)

Mrs. Gummidge

Mrs. Gummidge is an elderly woman who lives with Mr. Peggotty; she is the widow of his former business partner, and he therefore feels responsible for her. For much of the novel, Mrs. Gummidge… (read full character analysis)

Mrs. Steerforth

Mrs. Steerforth is James Steerforth’s widowed mother. She is unhealthily attached to her son and consequently allows him to do whatever he wants, causing him to grow up to be a spoiled and reckless… (read full character analysis)

Littimer

Littimer is James Steerforth's servant. David initially finds him intimidating because he has a very proper and slightly condescending manner. As time goes on, it becomes clear that part of Littimer's duties include cleaning… (read full character analysis)

Mr. Omer

Mr. Omer is an undertaker in Yarmouth. David meets him and his family for the first time when he is being fitted with clothes for Clara Copperfield's funeral. Despite (or perhaps because of) his… (read full character analysis)

Tungay

Tungay is a grumpy, one-legged man who worked with Mr. Creakle in the hops business before following his employer to Salem House. He acts partly as a caretaker, but his primary job is to support… (read full character analysis)

Mr. Spenlow

Francis Spenlow is a proctor for whom David works after finishing his studies at Doctor Strong's school. He is generally a good-natured man, but he is very protective of his daughter, Dora, and absolutely… (read full character analysis)

Miss Mowcher

Miss Mowcher is a hairdresser and a friend of James Steerforth. When David first meets her, he is put off by her loud and flighty manner. After Steerforth runs away with little Em'ly(read full character analysis)

Mr. Chillip

Mr. Chillip is the doctor who delivered David. He is a kind but timid man, as evidenced by his fear of Miss Betsey and his tendency to attribute all of his opinions to his… (read full character analysis)

Mrs. Crupp

Mrs. Crupp is David's landlady (and to some extent housekeeper) during his early years in London. She is an alcoholic who frequently helps herself to David's liquor, and she resents the attempts of others… (read full character analysis)

Minnie

Mr. Omer's daughter, Minnie, is a seamstress in her father’s shop. When David first meets Minnie (just before Clara's funeral), she is being courted by Joram—a carpenter who also works in Omer's… (read full character analysis)

Miss Lavinia Spenlow

Miss Lavinia is one of Mr. Spenlow's sisters. Along with her sister, Clarissa, Lavinia takes Dora in after Mr. Spenlow's sudden death. She frequently alludes to a past romance with a man named… (read full character analysis)

Miss Clarissa Spenlow

Miss Clarissa is one of Mr. Spenlow's sisters. She and her sister, Lavinia, act as a guardian for Dora after Mr. Spenlow's death. She is more severe in temperament than Lavinia, and frequently… (read full character analysis)

Jorkins

Mr. Jorkins is Mr. Spenlow's business partner, whose main function seems to be to provide Spenlow with a plausible excuse for turning people's requests down: for instance, when David asks to be released from… (read full character analysis)

Miss Julia Mills

A friend of Dora's, with whom Dora is living when David and Dora first secretly get engaged. When David first meets Miss Mills, she is kind but has "retired" from life after having suffered… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Sophy Crewler
Sophy Crewler is Traddles’s wife. She is practical and helpful, which delights Traddles. The pair have a happy, stable marriage, which serves as positive example of marriage for David. Sophy has several sisters, many of which live with her.
Mr. Sharp
Mr. Sharp is the head teacher at David’s boarding school, Salem House. Like Mr. Mell, Mr. Sharp is badly paid and very poor. The students think his thick, wavy hair is actually a wig.
Joram
Joram is a carpenter who works for Mr. Omer. When David first meets Joram (before Clara Copperfield's funeral), he is courting Omer's daughter, Minnie. The couple later marry and have at least two children together.
Mr. Quinion
The owner of a counting-house. Mr. Murdstone sends David to work for Quinion as a way to get rid of him.