Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility Character List

Henry Dashwood

Husband of Mrs. Dashwood, and father of Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret; also has a son, John, from a previous marriage. He dies at the beginning of the novel, leaving his wife and daughters little money and his son his estate.

John Dashwood

Mr. Dashwood's only son, he is selfish and miserly and mostly unpleasant to his half-sisters. Married to Fanny Dashwood, who is even more selfish and mean-spirited than he.

Mrs. Dashwood

Mother of Elinor, Marianne and Margaret, she has a romantic temperament and is very close to her daughters. She hopes to see them all married off well, yet is not the voice of reason that perhaps she should be.

Elinor Dashwood

At 19, she is the oldest of the Dashwood girls, she has a great deal of common sense and is bet out of her family at dealing with people. She is a dramatic foil to her sister, Marianne, in that she tempers her emotions and judgments with good sense and discretion. Prefers to keep her troubles secret, as she is always trying to make sure that her mother and sisters are untroubled by her private woes.

Marianne Dashwood

Two years younger than Elinor, she is thoroughly youthful, impetuous, and thoroughly immersed in romantic ideals. She lacks the sense and discretion of Elinor, preferring to express exactly what she feels and hold nothing back. Elinor often has to apologize on her sister's behalf, as Marianne makes few attempts to be polite or mask her feelings of contempt for those people she dislikes.

Margaret Dashwood

The youngest Dashwood girl, she is thirteen; she tries to imitate Marianne's romantic sentiments, but is not nearly as extreme. She is included in most social invitations that the Dashwoods are invited to, though she is neither a child nor an adult, which is perhaps an awkward position for her.

Edward Ferrars

Fanny Dashwood's brother, he is shy, kind, and retiring, preferring a quiet life to the distinction that his mother and sister wish for him. He and Elinor become attached early in the novel, since both are sensible and good-hearted. However, he also gives Elinor mixed signals and his thoughts and feelings are very hard to read.

Sir John Middleton

The owner of Barton Park, the Dashwoods landlord and neighbor. He is very kind and loves company, almost to the point of being intrusive; although the Dashwood girls don't care for his good-natured jibes and his insistence that they always come to Barton Cottage, he looks after them and makes sure that they are comfortable at Barton.

Lady Middleton

Sir John's wife; she is very vain and proper, meaning that she is elegant, but also uninteresting and cold. She takes joy in her children, who are badly behaved and obnoxious even; she does not share Sir John's love for company, and finds that most people are not to her liking.

Mrs. Jennings

Lady Middleton's mother and Sir John's mother-in-law; she makes endless jokes about potential suitors for Marianne and Elinor, and her manners, though jolly, are also vulgar and sometimes irritating. She has far more in common with her son-in-law than with her daughter, as they both love company and shows of humor.

Colonel Brandon

One of Sir John's oldest friends, he is 35 and a former military officer who was stationed in India. His countenance is rather stern and grim, hiding his good heart; Elinor finds him good company, though Marianne considers him too dour and not nearly romantic enough to be suitable company.

John Willoughby

A dashing, roguish young man, he embodies all the dashing, romantic qualities that Marianne prizes. He also loves art and literature just as she does, and has a manner that is almost too open and bold for his own good. He proves to be reckless and more deceptive than anyone could have imagined.

Miss Williams

Colonel Brandon's adopted daughter, child of a woman he was once in love with. She does not appear in the novel, but her seduction and abandonment by Willoughby figures heavily in the plot.

Mrs. Smith

Also does not appear; she is Willoughby's aunt, on whom he is financially dependent, and orders him away to London without her support when she finds out about Miss Williams.

Mrs. Palmer

Mrs. Jennings' other daughter, she is foolishly good-spirited and empty-headed as well. She ignores the rudeness and insults that her husband so frequently offers up, deceiving herself that he is good-natured and means well.

Mr. Palmer

Very bitter man, who usually makes cutting, sarcastic remarks at the expense of his wife and of others. He is very unpleasant to be around, and drives away most people, despite his wife's frequent apologies.

Miss Steele

A distant cousin of Mrs. Jennings, she and her sister become guests at Barton Cottage for a number of months. Miss Steele is foolish, flippant, and very ignorant, and gains the approval of Lady Middleton through shameless flattery and pandering to her children.

Lucy Steele

Somewhat smarter than her sister, Lucy is still silly, unpolished, and judged by the Dashwood girls to be unremarkably average company. She also proves to be opportunistic, wrangling her way into the Ferrars family despite being poor and not well connected.

Robert Ferrars

Edward's brother, a vain, conceited man who is much beloved of his mother. He manages to profit from Edward's integrity and his refusal to dump Lucy, and then rewards his brother by deceiving him, and keeping Edward's inheritance. He does Edward a good turn, however, by taking the dreadful Lucy off his hands.

Miss Grey

Willoughby's chosen wife; he does not love her, but she has a great deal of money, which is why he chooses her over Marianne.

Miss Morton

The unfortunate girl who is supposed to marry Edward, then Robert, and ends up with neither; she is also wealthy and of good family, although she must find a husband after the Ferrars shuffle.

Mrs. Ferrars

Edward, Fanny, and Robert's mother, she is a bad tempered, vain woman who embodies all the foibles demonstrated in Fanny and Robert's characters. Determined that her sons should marry well, she ends up disowning Edward, then embracing Robert for marrying or threatening to marry Lucy Steele.

Dr. Harris

Helps during Marianne's illness at Cleveland, prescribing medicines and treatments that eventually make her better.