Respected gentleman, "the favourite of both Nature and Fortune," and Tom's guardian. He supports Tom as his own, though believing he is a foundling. Brother of Bridget Allworthy.
Sister of Squire Allworthy, she is unmarried at the beginning of the story, but becomes Mrs. Blifil when she marries Captain Blifil. She is an unattractive woman alleged to have been immortalized by Hogarth in his sketch "Winter's Morning." Bridget is the mother of Master Blifil and, after her death, is revealed to be Tom Jones's mother.
Servant to Miss Bridget Allworthy. A shrewish woman "universally hated and dreaded," she is given the task of finding Tom's mother.
The eponymous hero. He is believed to be an illegitimate child of low birth, but is brought up as a gentleman. He is handsome, generous, popular and passionate. The novel charts his progress to adulthood and his pursuit of Miss Sophia Western.
A bright young woman, Jenny is "as good a scholar as most of the young men of quality of the age." Jenny Jones is initially believed to be Tom Jones' mother. She is in the employ of the Partridges and is dismissed by the jealous Mrs. Partridge. Squire Allworthy provides for her in another parish in a bid for her to mend her wanton ways.
It is later revealed that Jenny was paid to confess to being the mother of the child to protect the honor of Miss Bridget Allworthy.
A friend of Allworthy's. A bright man trapped in the wrong vocation. He falls in love with Bridget Allworthy but, as he is already married, he convinces his brother, Captain Blifil, to court her. He is cut out of the friendship and dies of a broken heart.
A half-pay officer, Captain Blifil is brought to Allworthy's estate to court Bridget Allworthy. He is an unattractive man, but he and Bridget fall for each other. Captain Blifil is keen to inherit Allworthy's property through his wife, and dies of a apoplexy while imagining his fortune. Though he and his wife hate each other, she erects a monument to his memory. He is the father of Master Blifil.
Originally a schoolteacher, Mr. Partridge is cast out by the community after allegedly beating his wife and fathering Jenny Jones' child - neither of which he is responsible for.
He later meets up with Tom as Little Benjamin and accompanies him on his travels, in the hope of winning Allworthy's favor again. Partridge remains a loyal and devoted friend to Tom, even though he is something of a bumbler.
A bitter and jealous woman, Mrs Partridge attacks her husband when she thinks he is the father of Jenny Jones's child. She then accuses him of beating her, which helps to ruin his reputation.
Mr. Square is a philosopher. He resides at the Allworthy household as a friend but also as an advisor to Tom Jones and Master Blifil. He believes that vice is a "deviation from nature." His philosophy is juxtaposed with that of Thwackum.
His elevated position is ridiculed when he is found hiding in Molly Seagrim's bedroom. Square reveals Tom's great loyalty to Allworthy in a letter sent from his deathbed.
Thwackum is a teacher employed to educate Master Blifil and Tom Jones. He is a fierce advocate that the human mind is "nothing but a sink of iniquity till purified and redeemed by grace." He is an enthusiastic advocate of corporal punishment and regularly thrashes Jones. He remains hypocritical till the end, and his philosophy is juxtaposed with that of Square.
A gamekeeper friend of Tom's, and also the father of Molly Seagrim. Tom lies and steals to support George, and George later assists by passing communications to Sophia. He also, however, takes money which Tom misplaces, an act which is examined by the narrator through the various eyes of the audience. Also goes by George Seagrim.
Son of Captain Blifil and Bridget Blifil. Master Blifil is favored by Allworthy when the man realizes he is not as appreciated by his mother as Tom is.
Master Blifil is sneaky and underhanded. He often seeks to put Tom in a bad light. Mrs. Western believes that Sophia Western is in love with him, and a marriage is planned by the two families. In reality, Sophia hates Master Blifil.
Daughter of Squire Western, Mrs. Sophia Western is the heroine of the novel. She is based upon Fielding's much-loved first wife, Charlotte Cradock.
Sophia is an intelligent and beautiful young woman - "Her mind was every way equal to her person; nay the latter borrowed some charms from the former."
Sophia is drawn to Tom's gentlemanly ways, though she believes him low-born. She is wilfful, as she shows when she runs away from the arranged marriage with Master Blifil, but also wants to make others happy.
A neigbor of Squire Allworthy, and father of Sophia. He is a keen hunter and is fond of Tom until he hears of the affection between him and Sophia. Squire Western locks his daughter away in a bid to force her to marry Blifil, and pursues her when she flees. He is a boorish drunk.
Daughter of Black George, Molly is the first girl to whom Tom is attracted. She is a beautiful and passionate girl who has little modesty or virtue. When she becomes pregnant, Tom admits to being the father and she is happy to sustain this pretense even though it is untrue.
Molly's mother. She colludes with her daughter in her many liaisons for money, and helps to cover her daughter's pregnancy with a dress given by Sophia. Goes by Goody Seagrim.
Local curate. He is present when Squire Western asserts that Tom is the father of Molly Seagrim's child, and when Tom is found with Molly in the woods. He later travels with Squire Western in the latter's hunt for Sophia.
Ensign Northerton is an unsavoury and uneducated soldier who attacks Tom in an inn and causes a severe head injury. He escapes custody but is later found assaulting a lady, Mrs Waters, whom Tom rescues.
King of the Gypsies
Tom has an interesting conversation with the king of the gypsies regarding absolute monarcy. He also deals wisely with an attempt to con Partridge.
London-based lady whom Sophia turns to when she flees her home. Lady Bellaston falls for Tom herself, and tries to keep him and Sophia apart. A vicious flirt, and entirely cruel.
Kind and benevolent lady with whom Tom and Partridge take rooms in London. Mother of Nancy Miller and cousin of Mr Anderson, the failed highwayman. Mrs. Miller's support of Tom is crucial towards his success. Also owes Allworthy for having helped her earlier in life.
A poor man with a large family, Anderson tries half-heartedly to rob Tom when they meet on the road. Tom gives him money instead. He is later revealed to be the cousin of Mrs. Miller. Tom's kindness to Mr. Anderson ultimately pays off by helping him earn Mrs. Miller's support.
A young gentleman who takes to Tom when they live together with Mrs. Miller. Nightingale becomes a devoted and true friend to Tom Jones. He ultimately marries Nancy Miller, partially through Tom's help.
A lawyer who has dealings with Allworthy and Blifil. He engages in dubious activities at Blifil's behest, and keeps Bridget Allworthy's secret.
A gentleman who falls for Sophia Western and attempts to rape her in order to win her hand. He is prompted to cruelty by Lady Bellaston, and later favored as a match by Mrs. Western.
Mrs. Arabella Hunt
A young and wealthy widow who asks for Tom to become her new husband. Tom gallantly refuses her request.
A military man recruited By Lord Fellamar to have Tom Jones press ganged and sent to sea.
Sophia's loyal servant. Honour loves her mistress and organizes her own dismissal to stay with her lady. She is sometimes indiscreet but is well meaning. She sometimes affects air and graces to seem above her station. Ultimately ends up working for Lady Bellaston. Goes by Mrs. Abigal Honour.
Jenny Jones, by another name. Tom rescues her later in the story, and they have a brief affair. The affair later appears to be incestuous, until the truth of Tom's parentage is brought up.
Another name for Partridge, and the one he uses when Tom first meets up with him on the road.
Nightingale's father. He engineers a match for his son that keeps Nightingale from pursuing Nancy Miller, until his mind is changed by Allworthy and by circumstance.
Mrs. Miller's daughter. A sweet girl who falls in love with Nightingale, and has his baby. They ultimately marry.
The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Eighteenth century novels were famous for naming the book after their protagonist. Stories like Tom Jones and Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe were driven by their protagonist. The actual formal title of Tom Jones was The History of Tom Jones, a...