Tom Ripley, who is simultaneously the novel’s protagonist and antagonist, has a gift for forgery, impersonation, and imitation, and he uses these skills to his advantage at every available opportunity. Slick and slippery, Tom mirrors… (read full character analysis)
Dickie Greenleaf, an acquaintance of Tom Ripley’s, is the cool, vain heir to a shipbuilding company who has absconded to Italy in order to live a life of luxury far from the watchful gaze… (read full character analysis)
An expat, writer, and resident of Mongibello, Marge Sherwood is Dickie’s on-and-off romantic interest and Tom’s major rival for Dickie’s affections. Marge is creative and kind, but hopelessly lovesick for Dickie, and she often allows… (read full character analysis)
One of Dickie’s expat acquaintances, Freddie is an “overweight American [with] carrot-red hair” who is “the son of an American hotel-chain owner” and a “self-styled playwright.” Freddie’s extravagant manner and off-putting looks make him hateful… (read full character analysis)
Tom's much-loathed Aunt Dottie raised him in Boston after his parents’ death, though she constantly complained about it. She teased and taunted Tom cruelly, and often called him a “sissy,” comparing him to his father… (read full character analysis)
Dickie’s mother, whom Tom describes as “formal yet with [a] naïve goodwill-toward-all.” Emily has fallen ill with leukemia, and for that reason she and her husband are desperate to bring Dickie home to share in her final months.
Fausto is Dickie and Tom’s Italian tutor. He is a vivacious young Italian man and a “card-carrying Communist” who is native to Milan but a frequent visitor to Mongibello.
Marcellus “Marc” Priminger
Tom’s former housemate, a wealthy man who has a “hobby” of bringing young men in need of financial assistance into his home and putting them up.
Tom’s roommate in New York at the novel’s beginning. Not quite a friend, Bob doesn’t know much detail of Tom’s life.
Anna and Ugo
Tom’s servants in Venice.
Dickie’s maid and cook in Mongibello.
A lieutenant with the Roman police who questions Tom as to Dickie’s whereabouts in the wake of Freddie Miles’s murder (at the hands of Tom-as-Dickie.)
The landlady who rents Tom-as-Dickie his apartment in Rome.
An American detective whom Herbert Greenleaf brings over to Italy in order to conduct an investigation of Dickie’s disappearance.
Contessa Roberta “Titi” della Latta-Cacciaguerra
A countess and an acquaintance of Tom’s in Venice.