Matilda is the titular character and the protagonist of Roald Dahl’s Matilda. Unlike her other family members, who are selfish and dull, Matilda is a precocious child with a love of books and a high aptitude for mathematics. Unfulfilled and neglected by her family, Matilda often comes up with pranks to “punish” her parents. Her overwhelming mental power leads her to develop telekinetic abilities which she perfects to defeat the cruel headmistress, Miss Trunchbull and help her teacher Miss Honey. Though she is clearly uniquely gifted, Matilda remains an extremely likable and humble young girl.
Miss Honey is Matilda’s school teacher and the first person to appreciate and foster Matilda’s extraordinary intelligence. She attempts to bring Matilda’s gift to the attention to Miss Trunchbull and Matilda’s parents, but is coldly rebuffed. Miss Honey is a shy, sweet woman and is beloved by all of her students, especially Matilda. Miss Honey acts as a motherly figure as well as a confidant to the young girl.
Miss Trunchbull is the headmistress of Matilda’s school, and the story’s main antagonist. She is also the legal guardian of Miss Honey. Trunchbull is a fearsome creature, and she utterly despises children. She is abusive towards Miss Honey as well as to her students and frequently makes use of a torture chamber called the “Chokey” to punish them. Matilda uses her unique powers to restore Miss Honey to her house and her rightful inheritance, and Trunchbull is never seen again.
Mr. Wormwood is Matilda’s father, and a secondary antagonist of the story. He is a neglectful father who hates books and is an extremely dishonest businessman. He is the prime target of Matilda’s tricks. Mr. Wormwood is an arrogant and ratty man, and he shows no interest in his daughter. Because of his fraudulent business dealings, Mr. Wormwood is forced to flee the country with his family, but he leaves Matilda behind.
Mrs. Wormwood is Matilda’s mother. She is a voluptuous woman who is highly concerned with appearance (constantly dying her hair platinum blonde) and prizes looks over intelligence and substance. She is inattentive of her children and often leaves Matilda alone in the house while she goes to play bingo.
Lavender is one of Matilda’s new-found friends in her school. She is extremely small for her age, and has deep brown eyes and a fringe. Much like Matilda, she is very brave and mischievous. She plans an elaborate prank on the Trunchbull that is very successful.
Bruce is a fellow student of Matilda’s. He is an extremely rotund boy and is forced by the Trunchbull to consume a giant chocolate cake in front of the entire school when she accuses him of stealing her food.
Michael is Matilda's older brother, who is favored by their parents because he enjoys watching television and generally does not care about reading or academics, just like them. Mr. Wormwood wants his son to follow in his footsteps and work as a car salesman alongside him one day.
The village librarian. She means well, but she often treats Matilda like a little girl, having trouble understanding how such a small child could be reading books outside the children's section in the library. She does her best to help Matilda pursue her love of reading.
Matilda's neighborhood friend who owns a parrot. Matilda borrows Fred's parrot to use in a trick against her family.
A ten-year-old student at Crunchem Hall, who tells Matilda and Lavender everything they need to know about Miss Trunchbull and how to fight her.
A child at Crunchem Prep who comes to school with braided pigtails. Miss Trunchbull hates pigtails, so she swings Amanda around and around by her pigtails and throws her over the fence.
A spunky boy in Miss Honey's class who initially gets picked on by the Trunchbull because his hands are filthy and unwashed. He does not succumb to her bullying, however, and continues to be a loud and cheerful voice in the classroom while she torments them.
A girl in Miss Honey's class who spells "difficulty" correctly on the first try when asked to by Miss Trunchbull.
A boy in Miss Honey's class who is lifted up by his hair when he cannot correctly solve two times seven.
A boy in Miss Honey's class who is lifted up by his ears by Miss Trunchbull when he cannot correctly spell "what."
Miss Honey's father, who died mysteriously when she was five and left her in the care of her cruel Aunt Trunchbull.
A boy in Miss Honey's class who is tormented by Miss Trunchbull with a number of hard math problems he cannot answer, until she is distracted by the chalk at the blackboard beginning to move on its own.
The Deputy Head of Crunchem Prep, who takes Miss Trunchbull's place when she disappears. He is much kinder and more rational than she was.
The teacher in the highest form, where Matilda is moved after Mr. Trilby becomes Head Teacher.
Matilda Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Matilda is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
I think Matilda needed to protect herself more than telling the truth. People would not understand her powers: she would suffer even more if they knew the truth. Matilda had a lot of antagonists in her life and she needed to protect herself.