A handsome and virtuous young footman whom Lady Booby attempts to corrupt. He is a protégé of Mr. Adams and the devoted but chaste lover of Fanny Goodwill. His adventures in journeying from the Booby household in London back to the countryside, where he plans to marry Fanny, provide the main plot of the novel.
Mr. Abraham Adams
A benevolent, absent-minded, impecunious, and somewhat vain curate in Lady Booby’s country parish. He notices and cultivates Joseph’s intelligence and moral earnestness from early on, and he supports Joseph’s determination to marry Fanny. His journey back to the countryside coincides with Joseph’s for much of the way, and the vibrancy of his simple good nature makes him a rival of Joseph for the title of protagonist.
The beautiful but reserved beloved of Joseph, a milkmaid, believed to be an orphan. She endures many unsuccessful sexual assaults.
Sir Thomas Booby
The recently deceased master of Joseph and patron of Mr. Adams. Other characters’ reminiscences portray him as decent but not heroically virtuous; he once promised Mr. Adams a clerical living in return for Adams’s help in electing Sir Thomas to parliament, but he then allowed his wife to talk him out of it.
Sir Thomas’s widow, whose grieving process involves playing cards and propositioning servants. She is powerfully attracted to Joseph, her footman, but finds this attraction degrading and is humiliated by his rejections. She exemplifies the traditional flaws of the upper class, namely snobbery, egotism, and lack of restraint, and she is prone to drastic mood swings.
A hideous and sexually voracious upper servant in the Booby household. Like her mistress, she lusts after Joseph.
Lady Booby’s miserly steward, who lends money to other servants at steep interest and gives himself airs as a member of the upwardly striving new capitalist class.
The nephew of Sir Thomas. Fielding has adapted this character from the “Mr. B.” of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela; like Richardson’s character, Mr. Booby is a rather snobbish squire who marries his servant girl, Pamela Andrews.
Joseph’s virtuous and beautiful sister, from whom he derives inspiration for his resistance to Lady Booby’s sexual advances. Pamela, too, is a servant in the household of a predatory Booby, though she eventually marries her lascivious master. Fielding has adapted this character from the heroine of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela.
The father of Pamela and, ostensibly, Joseph.
The mother of Pamela and, ostensibly, Joseph.
Highwaymen who beat, rob, and strip Joseph on the first night of his journey.
Lends Joseph his greatcoat when Joseph is naked following the attack by the Ruffians.
The master of the inn where Joseph boards after being attacked by the Ruffians. He intends to lend Joseph one of his own shirts, but his stingy wife prevents him. Later he is discovered in bed with Betty the chambermaid.
The frugal, nagging wife of Mr. Tow-wouse.
A chambermaid in the inn of Mr. and Mrs. Tow-wouse. Her initial care of Joseph bespeaks her basic good nature, but she is also lustful, and her association with him ends badly.
A clergyman who never passes up a drink and halfheartedly attends Joseph during his recovery from the attack by the Ruffians.
Belatedly addresses the injuries Joseph sustained during his attack by the Ruffians.
A friend of Mr. Barnabas, declines to represent Mr. Adams, author of several volumes of sermons, in the London book trade.
The Constable who fails to guard an imprisoned Ruffian and may have some financial incentive for failing in this office.
The reclusive inhabitant of a grand house along the stage-coach route, a shallow woman who once jilted the hard-working Horatio for the frivolous Bellarmine and then was jilted in turn.
An industrious lawyer who intended to marry Leonora but lost her to the wealthy and flamboyant Bellarmine.
A Frenchified cavalier who values Leonora’s beauty enough to steal her away from Horatio but who finally rejects her when her father refuses to supply a dowry.
A miserly old gentleman who refuses to bestow any money on his daughter during his life and thereby causes her to lose Bellarmine as a suitor.
Leonora’s chaperone during the period of her courtship by Horatio and then Bellarmine; encourages Leonora to pursue her financial self-interest in choosing a mate.
A snobbish stage-coach passenger who objects to traveling with the footman Joseph but turns out to be the daughter of a man who was once a lower servant.
Encounters Mr. Adams while out shooting one night; extolls bravery when conversing with Adams but flees the scene when the cries of a distressed woman are heard.
A local magistrate who does not take his responsibilities very seriously. He handles the case of Mr. Adams and Fanny when Fanny’s attacker accuses them of having beaten and robbed him.
A gentleman who, after a turbulent youth, has retired to the country with his wife and children and lives a life of virtue and simplicity. His eldest son, who turns out to have been Joseph, was stolen by gypsies as a child.
The wife of Wilson. She once redeemed him from debtor’s prison, having been the object of his undeclared love for some time.
An apparent instrument of providence who pays one of Mr. Adams’s many inn bills, rescues Mr. Adams’s drowning son, and figures out the respective parentages of both Joseph and Fanny.
The wife of Mr. Adams and mother of his six children, prone to nagging but also appreciative of her husband’s loving nature.
An entrepreneurial and greedy clergyman, more dedicated to hog farming than to the care of souls, who refuses to lend Mr. Adams money for his inn bill.
The downtrodden wife of Parson Trulliber.
Hunter of Men
An eccentric and rather sadistic country gentleman who sets his hunting dogs on Mr. Adams, allows his friends to play cruel jokes on him, and attempts to abduct Fanny.
One of the Squire’s friends, abducts Fanny on the Squire’s orders but is himself taken prisoner by servants of Lady Booby.
One of the Squire’s friends, a failed actor who pursues Fanny on the Squire’s orders but flees when the Captain is taken prisoner.
One of the Squire’s friends, a failed playwright who pursues Fanny on the Squire’s orders but flees when the Captain is taken prisoner.
One of the Squire’s friends; comes up with a Socratic practical joke that exploits Mr. Adams’s pedantry.
Discourses on the vanity of riches before asking Mr. Adams for money to pay his inn bill.
Tells Mr. Adams that Joseph has worked long enough to gain a settlement in Lady Booby’s parish, but then becomes a willing accomplice in Lady Booby’s attempt to expel Joseph and Fanny.
The local magistrate who cooperates with Lady Booby’s attempt to expel Joseph and Fanny from her parish.
A guest of Lady Booby’s, lusts after Fanny and makes several unsuccessful attempts on her.
A servant of Beau Didapper’s, attempts to persuade Fanny to accept his master’s advances and then makes a few attempts on his own behalf.
A son of Mr. and Mrs. Adams, nearly drowns in a river but is rescued by the Pedlar. He then reads the story of Leonard and Paul to his parents’ guests.
A married man who argues frequently with his wife while entertaining his friend Paul in their home. Like his wife, he eventually accepts Paul’s advice always to yield in disputes, even and especially when he knows himself to be right.
The wife of Leonard, with whom she argues frequently while they are entertaining his friend Paul in their home. Like her husband, she eventually accepts Paul’s advice always to yield in disputes, even and especially when she knows herself to be right.
Leonard’s friend, separately advises both Leonard and Leonard’s wife to adhere to the “Doctrine of Submission.”
Joseph Andrews Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Joseph Andrews is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Lady Booby orders Slipslop to have the steward pay Joseph his wages and send him away. Slipslop opines that if she had known how Lady Booby would react, she would never have reported Joseph’s behavior. After sending Slipslop out of the room and...
The character of Joseph has been a stumbling-block to many modern readers for whom sexual purity may not seem intrinsically valuable, and the extent to which Fielding intended even eighteenth-century readers to take his title character seriously...
Fielding’s novels are full of clergymen, many of whom are less than exemplary; in the contrast between the benevolent Adams and his more self-interested brethren, Fielding draws the distinction between the mere formal profession of Christian...