David Copperfield

David Copperfield


Charles Dickens

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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 analysis of David Copperfield

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 analysis of Agnes Wickfield

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 analysis of Miss Betsey Trotwood

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 analysis of James Steerforth

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 analysis of Dora Spenlow
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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 analysis of Uriah Heep

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 analysis of Little Em'ly (Emily)

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 analysis of Tommy Traddles


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 analysis of Peggotty

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 analysis of Mr. Dick

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 analysis of Mr. Murdstone

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 analysis of Mr. Micawber

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 analysis of Clara Copperfield

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 analysis of Mrs. Micawber

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 analysis of Miss Murdstone

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 analysis of Mr. Peggotty

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 analysis of Ham Peggotty

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 Agnesread analysis of Mr. Wickfield

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 analysis of Rosa Dartle

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 analysis of Doctor Strong

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 analysis of Annie Strong

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 analysis of Mr. Mell

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 analysis of Mr. Creakle

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 analysis of Mrs. Heep

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 analysis of Mr. Barkis

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 analysis of Martha Endell

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 analysis of Jack Maldon

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 analysis of Mrs. Markleham

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 analysis of Mrs. Gummidge

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 analysis of Mrs. Steerforth


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 analysis of Littimer

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 analysis of Mr. Omer


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 analysis of Tungay

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 analysis of Mr. Spenlow

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'lyread analysis of Miss Mowcher

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 analysis of Mr. Chillip

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 analysis of Mrs. Crupp


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 analysis of Minnie

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 analysis of Miss Lavinia Spenlow

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 analysis of Miss Clarissa Spenlow


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 analysis of Jorkins

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 analysis of Miss Julia Mills
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 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.