The Coquette

List of characters

  • Eliza Wharton-the protagonist of the novel who, following the death of her fiance is pursued by two men: Reverend J. Boyer and Major Peter Sanford. Her free spirit and lack of commitment to the male sex bestow her the term “coquette.” Her coquettish nature eventually leads to her demise.
  • Rev. J. Boyer-the first of Eliza’s suitors. He is a safe and modest man who wishes to have Eliza’s hand in marriage, yet his predictable nature is not appealing enough. Ultimately, Eliza’s lack of sincerity and commitment cause him to end his pursuit of her.
  • Major Peter Sanford-the second of Eliza’s suitors. He is a womanizer who provides excitement for Eliza yet shows no signs of future commitment. However, he eventually marries another woman; this does not prevent Eliza from further continuing her relationship with him.
  • Lucy Freeman -Eliza’s best friend, from whom she often seeks advice. Lucy’s disapproval of Eliza’s decisions is evident in her letters. During the novel, she gets married; thus, her name is changed to Lucy Sumner.
  • Charles Deighton-Sanford’s primary confidant. Sanford expresses his thoughts in his letters to Charles.
  • Mr. T. Selby-Reverend Boyer’s primary confidant. He expresses his blatant disapproval of Eliza in his responses.
  • Nancy Sanford-Major Peter Sanford’s wife. Although not as attractive as Eliza, her wealth compensates. She is briefly mentioned in Major Sanford’s letters.
  • Gen. and Mrs. Richman-Relatives of Eliza (Mrs. Richman is Eliza’s cousin). The couple provides her with a place to stay upon the loss of her fiancé. While they truly look out for her best interests, their advice is often overlooked.
  • Julia Granby-a free-spirit and one of Eliza’s closest friends. She comes to comfort Eliza during her time of despair.
  • Mrs. Wharton-Eliza’s widowed mother. Coping with the loss of her husband, she is happy when Eliza returns home but distressed to see her in such a disdainful state.

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