Evelina

Characters

  • Miss Evelina Anville, the novel's main character, is the daughter of Lady Caroline Belmont (born Caroline Evelyn) and Sir John Belmont. A series of letters convey the story, and she summarizes specific experiences of her life, mainly to her guardian/pseudo-father Reverend Villars. She embodies the desirable traits for women at the time. Although she is called a social "nobody" by the fop Mr. Lovel, other characters have high opinions of her. She is deemed "a very pretty modest-looking girl" by Lord Orville and an "angel" by Sir Clement in the first volume. The novel traces her trials and tribulations and growing confidence in her own abilities and discernment.
  • Reverend Arthur Villars is the man who raised Evelina as his own and refers to her as the "child of his heart." He is her tutor and guardian. Taking in the disgraced Lady Belmont, he vowed to be the protector of her child. He is Evelina's moral guide and confidant throughout the novel.
  • Sir Clement Willoughby is a minor nobleman (baronet). Evelina meets him at the infamous Ridotto during her first visit to London. A steadfast pursuer of Evelina's good favour, he courts her very forwardly with flamboyant proclamations and flattering speeches. Evelina dislikes him, only tolerating him because he curries favour with Captain Mirvan and Mrs. Selwyn. He also accompanies Captain Mirvan whenever he assaults, provokes or teases Madame Duval.
  • Lord Orville is a fine gentleman and earl who rescues Evelina on several occasions, including from the advances of Sir Clement. He falls into her good graces simply by conducting himself in a manner befitting his rank and person. He is open, engaging, gentle, attentive, and expressive.
  • Captain Mirvan is a retired navy captain who despises foreigners and constantly annoys Madame Duval. Husband of Mrs. Mirvan and father of Maria, he sometimes greatly embarrasses his family (or so Evelina perceives).
  • Mrs. Mirvan is a woman who shows much compassion and concern for Evelina. She looks after her during her visits to London and Howard Grove, treating Evelina as her second child.
  • Miss Maria Mirvan is a childhood friend of Evelina's, her true companion and confidante.
  • Madame Duval is Evelina's English grandmother, who pretends to be French. She wants to take Evelina to France, away from English influence in general and Rev. Villars in particular. She is stubborn and ignorant; therefore, she is repugnant to Evelina.
  • M. Dubois is Madame Duval's companion. He speaks only French and some broken English. Evelina bonds with him during her second residence in London because comparisons to her Branghton cousins elevate her opinion of him. Unfortunately, this encourages him to make unwanted advances that infuriate Mme. Duval. Captain Mirvan nicknames him "Monseer Slippery" because he once slipped in mud while carrying Mme. Duval.
  • The Branghtons are Evelina's London relations, a low-bred family who own a silversmith's shop in High Holborn. Evelina must associate with them on her second visit to London; she grows impatient with their crass behaviour and is embarrassed to be thought of as in their party, especially when she meets Lord Orville in their company. The Misses Branghton are jealous of the attention their own beaux give Evelina; their brother eventually attempts, unsuccessfully, to propose to Evelina through Mme. Duval.
  • Mr. Macartney is an impoverished Scottish poet who boards with the Branghtons and is the butt of many of their contemptuous jokes. Evelina rescues him during what she perceives to be a suicide attempt, but which was actually preparation for an armed robbery, a desperate action brought on by his mother's death and the discovery that his beloved was actually his unacknowledged sister. When the young woman's actual parentage is revealed, they are able to marry. He is Evelina's half-brother as his father is Sir John Belmont.
  • Lord Merton first met Evelina at an assembly. He is reintroduced to her in Bristol as Lord Orville's sister's fiancé. Along with his companion, Mr. Coverly, Lord Merton reveals himself as a drunken, gambling rake.
  • Mr. Lovel is Evelina's rejected dance partner from her first assembly. Though he knows her action of accepting another dance partner (Lord Orville) after refusing him is due to her lack of knowledge about society, he is furious and seizes every opportunity to embarrass her.[2]

This content is from Wikipedia. GradeSaver is providing this content as a courtesy until we can offer a professionally written study guide by one of our staff editors. We do not consider this content professional or citable. Please use your discretion when relying on it.