Peter Pan is the protagonist of the story, a little boy who refuses to grow up. It is Peter to whom the famous first lines of the story refer—"All children must grow up, except for one." We first meet Peter in much the same way that Wendy Darling does, when he is sitting on the window sill of the Darlings' nursery.
Peter is an innocent sprite-like figure who flits from the real world to a fantasy world and has larger-than-life adventures. He is quite brave and rescues the Darling kids from pirates, committed to the triumph of good over evil.
As admirable and courageous as Peter is, his aversion to growing older and committing to a life in the real world isolates him from the world. He stays in Never Land long after his Lost-Boy companions have decided to join the real world, and he has no attachments. He forgets people and events easily, caring only for chasing the next big adventure, and because of this, he is somewhat of a disappointment to his acquaintances, such as Wendy.
Wendy Darling is a kind young girl who strikes up a friendship with Peter when he shows up in her nursery looking for his shadow. She is adventurous and courageous, agreeing to travel to Never Land with Peter. She is also a very nurturing person with a tendency to be maternal both towards Peter and the Lost Boys.
Wendy harbors a crush on Peter, and wants very much for him to return her affections, but he disappoints her time and time again with his seeming indifference to her. Though she loves Never Land, she eventually feels the pull towards home and decides to leave it behind.
Tinker Bell is a fairy who lives in Never Land and is completely devoted to Peter. She is his most loyal companion and hates Wendy with a passion because she is a rival for Peter's affections.
The antagonist of the play, Captain Hook is a pirate and bandit of the high seas, exceedingly ruthless, and set on the demise of our hero, Peter. He hates Peter and wants to annihilate him, because he considers him responsible for the loss of his hand. Barrie describes him thus: "cadaverous and blackavised, his hair dressed in long curls which look like black candles about to melt, his eyes blue as the forget-me-not and of a profound insensibility, save when he claws, at which time a red spot appears in them. He has an iron hook instead of a right hand, and it is with this he claws. He is never more sinister than when he is most polite, and the elegance of his diction, the distinction of his demeanour, show him one of a different class from his crew, a solitary among uncultured companions. This courtliness impresses even his victims on the high seas, who note that he always says 'Sorry' when prodding them along the flank. A man of indomitable courage, the only thing at which he flinches is the sight of his own blood, which is thick and of an unusual colour."
Tiger Lily is an Indian princess on the island, and an ally to Peter Pan. Barrie portrays Tiger Lily's tribe from a colonial perspective, describing them as primitive savages. When Peter saves her from getting chained to a rock by Captain Hook, she becomes loyal to him and offers to stand guard over his home with her tribe.
Smee is the boatswain of Hook's ship, the Jolly Roger, and is Hook's loyal sidekick. He is somewhat effeminate, much like Hook, and acts as a kind of comic relief to Hook's neuroses.
The most devoted to Wendy of all of the Lost Boys, Tootles is not the smartest boy in the bunch, favoring a sweet disposition over a discerning one.
The middle of the Darling children, John gets along far better with his sister than he does with his younger brother. He worships his father and wants to be just like him one day, an upstanding gentleman in society, while also admiring the stubbornly youthful Peter Pan.
Michael is the youngest of the Darling children and often plays the role of "baby" among the Lost Boys.
The only adult to accompany the children to Never Land, Liza is a servant in the Darling household and somehow ends up in the magical land.
Peter Pan Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Peter Pan is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.