Sense and Sensibility


Jane Austen

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Sense and Sensibility can help.

Sense and Sensibility Characters

Mrs. Dashwood

The mother of Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret. Mrs. Dashwood is a kind, caring mother, who looks out for her daughters and tries to see them into happy, comfortable lives with good husbands… read analysis of Mrs. Dashwood

John Dashwood

The half-brother of the Dashwood sisters. John likes to think of himself as kind and generous, but his behavior proves him to be actually rather greedy. He doesn’t help his sisters, financially or otherwise, even… read analysis of John Dashwood

Fanny Dashwood

The wife of John Dashwood. Fanny is a greedy character. She doesn’t want John to give any money to his sisters, so that her son can inherit it all, and she cleverly persuades him… read analysis of Fanny Dashwood

Elinor Dashwood

The oldest of the three Dashwood sisters. Elinor exemplifies sense, from the novel’s title. She is a rational thinker, who restrains her emotions, even when she suffers great hardship. Elinor is polite and always tries… read analysis of Elinor Dashwood

Marianne Dashwood

While Elinor exemplifies sense, Marianne epitomizes sensibility. The middle Dashwood sister, she is romantic, emotional, and sentimental. She often lacks the restraint, prudence, and politeness of her older sister Elinor. She falls in love easily… read analysis of Marianne Dashwood
Get the entire Sense and Sensibility LitChart as a printable PDF.
Sense and Sensibility PDF

Edward Ferrars

Edward is a kind, honorable gentleman and the brother of Fanny. Early in the novel, he grows close to Elinor, even though he is secretly engaged to Lucy. In Marianne’s opinion, he… read analysis of Edward Ferrars

Lady Middleton

Sir John’s elegant but (in Elinor and Marianne’s opinion) rather dull wife. She and her husband host many social events which Elinor and Marianne attend, but Lady Middleton does not particularly like the Dashwood sisters… read analysis of Lady Middleton

Mrs. Jennings

Lady Middleton’s mother, with whom Elinor and Marianne stay in London. Mrs. Jennings is friendly and well-intentioned, but a bit overly fond of gossip. She is obsessed with predicting marriages and matching young couples. She… read analysis of Mrs. Jennings

Colonel Brandon

A friend of Sir John, whom the Dashwood sisters meet at Barton Park. Brandon is a 35 year-old bachelor who has been in love once before, with a woman named Eliza who was married… read analysis of Colonel Brandon

John Willoughby

Willoughby is a charming gentleman who literally sweeps Marianne off her feet when he picks her up after she has fallen in a rainstorm. He shares Marianne’s sensibility and artistic tastes, and the two quickly… read analysis of John Willoughby

Lucy Steele

Lucy is a clever, socially scheming, self-interested young woman. For much of the novel she is secretly engaged to Edward Ferrars and tells Elinor that she is truly in love with him. However, after he… read analysis of Lucy Steele

Mrs. Ferrars

The mother of Fanny, Edward, and Robert Ferrars. Mrs. Ferrars’ primary concern is to make sure her sons marry wealthy women. She is more concerned with gaining wealth and social status through… read analysis of Mrs. Ferrars

Eliza (Older)

A woman who was in love with Colonel Brandon, but was married against her will to Brandon’s brother. She and Brandon tried to elope but were caught. Unhappy in her marriage, her life took… read analysis of Eliza (Older)

Robert Ferrars

Arrogant and conceited, he is the son of Mrs. Ferrars is the younger brother of Edward and Fanny. His mother favors him over his older brother, and she seems pleased to disinherit Edward and… read analysis of Robert Ferrars
Minor Characters
Henry Dashwood
The husband of Mrs. Dashwood and father of Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret, as well as (from a previous marriage) John Dashwood. On his deathbed, he asks John to look after his three half-sisters, who don’t have substantial fortunes.
Margaret Dashwood
The youngest of the Dashwood sisters, Margaret is “good-humored,” but has even less sense than Marianne. She is a minor character in the novel, which focuses mostly on her two older sisters.
Sir John Middleton
A relative of Mrs. Dashwood, who invites her and her daughters to come live in a cottage on his property. Sir John hosts many dinners and parties at Barton Park, where Elinor and Marianne meet people like Mrs. Jennings, the Palmers, and the Steeles.
Mrs. Smith
Willoughby’s aunt, who owns the property of Allenham, which Willoughby expects to inherit. After learning of his affair with Eliza, though, Mrs. Smith disinherits Willoughby.
Charlotte Palmer
The friendly sister of Lady Middleton, who attends many of the social events that Elinor and Marianne go to at Barton Park and in London. Marianne and Elinor stay with the Palmers at Cleveland before going back to Barton after their stay in London. There, Marianne falls dangerously ill.
Mr. Palmer
Mrs. Palmer’s husband, who is normally rude to his wife and disagreeable to company. However, Elinor finds him to be a kind host when she and Marianne stay at the Palmers’ home.
Anne Steele
Lucy’s older sister, who often lacks the social intelligence and tact of Lucy—it is because of a slip of her tongue that the Ferrars family learns of Lucy’s engagement with Edward. She irritates Elinor and Marianne by incessantly talking about her favorite “beaux” and romantic conquests.
Miss Grey
The wealthy woman that Willoughby marries for her money.
Eliza (Younger)
The daughter of Colonel Brandon’s beloved Eliza, who is seduced by Willoughby. After he gets her pregnant, Willoughby completely abandons her, and Colonel Brandon has to take care of her.
Miss Morton
The wealthy woman Mrs. Ferrars tries unsuccessfully to engage Edward to. For a time, after Edward’s engagement to Lucy is made public, Miss Morton is set to marry Robert Ferrars, though this engagement doesn’t turn out either.