Middlemarch Character List

Dorothea Brooke

Oldest of two daughters, and raised by her bachelor uncle, Mr. Brooke. Dorothea is an excessively religious, pious girl‹to the extent that she withdraws from the activities she likes most, and convinces herself to marry a man, Mr. Casaubon, who cannot satisfy her emotionally or mentally. Dorothea, although she is fairly well-educated, is naïve about the outside world; when her marriage disappoints her, she is forced to learn that she cannot make a life through other people, and that she must fulfill her purpose in life through her own effort.

Celia Brooke

Dorothea's younger sister, the more calm and ordinary of the two. Although she makes no challenges to convention, Celia is sensible, and very perceptive when it comes to people and the Middlemarch world around her. She marries the kind and sensitive Sir James Chettam, a much better match, and made for better reasons, than her sister's union.

Mr. Brooke

Dorothea and Celia's guardian and uncle, brother to their deceased father. He is a strong-willed man, with definite, though outdated, ideas about what women should and should not do. Mr. Brooke means well, however, and has few qualms about flying in the face of Middlemarch conventions and politics, if need be.

Edward Casaubon

Dorothea's middle-aged husband, a crusty old scholar with an inability to feel emotion or love. He slaves away on a project called "The Key to All Mythologies," a work that is supposed to integrate his life's learning. However, Casaubon really has no intention of writing or finishing it, and has lost his ability to live and his will to achieve in the musty pages of books. He is also a man prone to jealousy and insecurity, which places a great burden on his young wife, Dorothea.

Sir James Chettam

Begins pursuing Dorothea at the beginning of the novel, but gives her up for her sister Celia when Dorothea becomes engaged to Casaubon. Chettam is an affable, kind man, who listens ardently to Dorothea's plans for improving the life of rural folk, and then takes great measures to make her plans a reality. Unlike many of the men in this novel, he does not subscribe to ideas that women should be weak, ornamental, and limited in their activities to household affairs; this makes his union with Celia a happy one, and cements his friendship with Dorothea.

Mr. Cadwallader

Preacher of Sir James' parish, and a trusted friend and advisor to him as well. He is kind, though has strong opinions in certain issues. He is often at Freshitt, Sir James' estate, for casual occasions and conversations.

Mrs. Cadwallader

Wife of Mr. Cadwallader, also rather kind-hearted, though with a tendency to be a bit of a busy-body. She knows all about neighborhood affairs, showing perhaps a little too much interest in other people's business.

Will Ladislaw

Young cousin of Mr. Casaubon, whom Casaubon has little regard for. He is kind though proud, and very intelligent. But, he is of lower social and economic standing than Casaubon because both his mother and grandmother married beneath themselves, and were disowned as a result. He is Dorothea's true love, and both of them bring out the best in each other.

Dr. Tertius Lydgate

Young man of about 30, of good family and social connections. He is the newest doctor in Middlemarch, and gains a lot of criticism from the old guard for his new methods and outsider status. He is proud to a fault, bright, and thinks that he has the capacity to be a great innovator in medicine. He falls in love with Rosamond and marries her, though his finances are less than ideal.

Rosamond Vincy

Very vain, empty-headed young woman, though her social graces and manner are perfect. She loves Lydgate because he is an outsider with impressive connections, and flatters her often. She needs constant attention from male suitors, even after marriage, and only the finest things around her. She treasures expensive possessions and furniture even more than her husband Lydgate, which causes great discord.

Mr. Vincy

Rosamond and Fred's father, mayor of Middlemarch. His family is one of the foremost in local society, and he is a merchant of good standing, dealing in cloth. Their family is not all rich, but got money from business. Mr. Vincy is very economical and works hard, though the rest of his family does not.

Mrs. Vincy

Wife to Mr. Vincy, and originator of many of her daughter Rosamond's flaws. She is also rather empty-headed, materialistic, and impractical; she gets Rosamond used to a very high standard of living, beyond even her husband's needs. She is not a bad woman, though she is recognized as being flawed, and not as steady as her husband.

Fred Vincy

The Vincys' only son; he starts out as a spendthrift and a very irresponsible young man, though by the end of the novel, he is doing decidedly better. He is in love with Mary Garth, though she is below him in social standing. However, Mary is much more sensible than he is, and gets him to work hard and prosper.

Mary Garth

Oldest child of the Garths, she works for Mr. Featherstone at Stone Court until his death. She is an intelligent girl who knows a good bit of literature, and she also has good experience with human nature. Mary is very affable, practical, and independent. She also helps Fred to improve himself immeasurably.

Caleb Garth

Mary's father, a hard-working man who manages estates and does improvements and construction projects on properties. He is far from rich, and very generous in spirit; overall a good man, who is always honest, and treats people well. He has a number of children, Mary being the most prominent. Fred becomes his apprentice when he cleans up his act.

Mrs. Garth

Wife of Caleb, just as honest and upstanding. She gives lessons to her own children and to village children as well, making extra money from this. She prizes responsibility, education, and honesty, and makes sure all of her children have these traits. She is a harder judge than her husband, but they are still a good match.

Mr. Featherstone

Owner of Stone Court, and very wealthy; related to both the Vincys and the Garths through his two childless marriages. He is a stern, unkind old man who uses his wealth as a threat to other people. He leaves his estate to his illegitimate son Mr. Rigg, which disappoints the Vincy family a great deal.

Mr. Rigg

Illegitimate son of Featherstone; he is disliked by people in Middlemarch for his common origins, and for being an outsider. He handles business and accountancy matters, and sells Stone Court to Mr. Bulstrode. He is stern and not very social, but not as mean as his father.

Mr. Bulstrode

Another prominent figure in Middlemarch, who runs a bank, a hospital, and other institutions. He has a good deal of money, and is prosperous; but his tendency to sermonize and keep an absurdly pious façade in public means that he is very unpopular with many people.

Mrs. Bulstrode

Mr. Vincy's sister; she is a very good woman, honest, upstanding, and faithful. She is also very good at evaluating other people, and their affairs. She gives excellent advice to Rosamond about marrying, and to the Vincys as well. Though her husband got his start in London, she is a true Middlemarcher, with a long family history there.

Mrs. Waule

Mr. Featherstone's sister, whom Mr. Featherstone does not like. She only comes to see him when he is dying, with the expectation that he will give her money in his will. A rater unpleasant woman, and not good company either.


A very honest and good man, though he is also human and would be the first to say so. He is in the clergy, and makes very little money; he supports his sister, mother, and aunt with this money, which is a bit of a strain. He is a good friend to Ladislaw, Lydgate, and others; he is also in love with Mary Garth, and she regards him highly.

Mr. Tyke

Another clergyman in the area, though his preaching is more sanctimonious, and favored by Bulstrode. He gets the position as the chaplain at the hospital instead of Farebrother for political reasons, although Farebrother is favored personally and as a preacher by most of the neighborhood.


Will's painter friend in Rome, who appreciates Dorothea's beauty.


Town auctioneer, and business advisor to Featherstone. He seems to know Featherstone better than almost anyone, and is the only person other than Rigg who receives anything from his will.

Mr. Raffles

Rigg's stepfather, a good-for-nothing. Also a former business partner of Bulstrode's. He helped Bulstrode in some very disreputable trades, and comes back years later to blackmail him. He effectively blackens Bulstrode's name, then dies of alcoholism while under his care.

Christy Garth

The Garths' oldest son; he is a real academic excelling in languages and other subjects. He is responsible, upright, and everything that the Garths treasure in a person's character.

Captain Lydgate

Lydgate's flighty, wealthy, and airheaded cousin. Lydgate doesn't care for him at all, though Rosamond adores him because he pays her a lot of attention.

Godwin Lydgate

Lydgate's very wealthy uncle, who turns down Rosamond's request for a loan. He seems rather haughty, and not generous at all.

Miss Noble

Farebrother's aunt, who has never married. She is kindly, and Will is a very good friend to her.

Ned Plymdale

Vain suitor of Rosamond's, though she rejects him. He goes on to do well financially, and get married to someone else.

Mrs. Plymdale

Ned's mother, very proud and boastful about her son's success. Bitter that Rosamond rejects him.