Table of Contents
- Dorothea Brooke: She is intelligent and rich girl with great aspirations, Dorothea does not like to display her riches and devotes her time and energy to making cottages for the workers of her uncle, Arthur Brooke. She marries Edward Casaubon an old folk, having idealistic thought of helping him in his research work, The Key to All Mythologies. However, the marriage proves to be unsuccessful, as Casaubon does not give her love and devotion her seriously and resents her youth, enthusiasm, and energy. Her desire to assist Casaubon makes it more difficult for him to hide that this project is obsolete and out of date. Because of Casaubon’s coldness during their honeymoon, Dorothea befriends with his cousin, Will Ladislaw. After some years Casaubon dies and she falls in love with Will and marries him renouncing her inherited fortune.
- Celia Brooke: She is Dorothea’s younger sister. She is more sensual and realistic than her sister and does not like her sister’s idealism. She tries to make Dorothea reject Casaubon. Later she marries and lives happily with Sir James Chettam.
- Arthur Brooke: He is the uncle of Celia and Dorothea. He is famously known as the worst landlord in the country but stands for parliament on a Reform platform.
- Mary Garth: She is the practical, simple, and kind daughter of Caleb and Susan Garth. She works as a nurse at Mr. Featherstone’s hospital. She loved Fred Vincy since childhood, but she does not marry him until he does not quit his Church job and do some better work.
- Caleb Garth: He is the father of Mary Garth. He is a kind, honest, and generous businessman who is a surveyor and land agent involved in farm management. He likes Fred and eventually takes him under his wing. He even pays Fred’s loan.
- Rosamond Vincy: She is beautiful, shallow and vain. She has high regards for her own charms and does not like Middlemarch. She marries Tertius Lydgate as she believes that he will raise her social status and give her all sorts of joy. When her husband becomes financially weak, she thwarts his efforts to economise, seeing such sacrifices as beneath her and insulting. After the death of Lydgate, she marries a rich man.
- Fred Vincy: He is the brother of Rosamond. He loves Mary Garth since childhood. His family hopes that he will raise his class status by becoming a clergyman, but he knows that Mary will not marry him if he does so. He is a spendthrift as he expects to inherit the property of his uncle Mr. Featherstone. He later changes himself because of his deep love for Mary, and finds, by studying under Mary’s father, a good job through which he gains Mary’s respect and love as well.
- Walter Vincy and Lucy Vincy: A respectable manufacturing family. They wish their children to grow in status and are quite dissatisfied by both Rosamond’s and Fred’s marriages. Mr. Vincy’s sister is married to Nicholas Bulstrode. Mrs. Vincy was an innkeeper’s daughter and her sister was the second wife of Mr. Featherstone.
- Rev. Edward Casaubon: A pedantic, selfish, elderly clergyman who is obsessed with his scholarly research. Because of this, his marriage to Dorothea is loveless. His unfinished book The Key to All Mythologies is intended as a monument to the tradition of Christian syncretism. However, his research is out of date because he does not read German. He is aware of this but will not admit it to anyone.
- Will Ladislaw: He is the cousin of Mr. Casaubon. He has no fortune as his grandmother married a poor Polish musician and was disinherited later on. He is a man of talent and idealism but without a profession. He is secretly in love with Dorothea, but cannot marry her without her losing Mr. Casaubon’s property. However, he succeeds in the end of the novel to achieve his love.
- Nicholas Bulstrode: He is a wealthy banker of Middlemarch. He married to Mr. Vincy’s sister, Harriet. He is a hypocrite. He tries to impose his beliefs on Middlemarch society. He also has a sinful past which he tries to hide to avoid disgrace. He killsRaffles indirectly when the latter tries to blackmail him.
- Camden Farebrother: He is a poor but clever vicar. He is a friend of Lydgate and Fred Vincy and loves Mary Garth. His condition improves when Dorothea appoints him to a living after her husband’s death.
- Peter Featherstone: He is the old landlord of Stone Court. He is a self-made man who married Caleb Garth’s sister and after his wife’s death, he marries Mrs. Vincy’s sister.
- Joshua Rigg Featherstone: He is the illegitimate son of Featherstone who appears at the reading of Featherstone’s will and is given his fortune instead of Fred. He also relates to John Raffles, who comes to visit Rigg but on reaching the town reveals Bulstrode’s past instead. His appearance in the novel is significant to the plot.
- John Raffles: He is a braggart and a bully, a humorous and an alcoholic man. He holds the key to Bulstrode’s dark past and Lydgate’s future and later is indirectly murdered by Bulstrode.
- Tertius Lydgate: A talented young doctor with new ideas, and thought of good birth he is relatively poor. Lydgate hopes to make great progress in medicine through his research. However, he ends up in an unhappy marriage to Rosamond Vincy. His attempts to show that he is not answerable to any man fail and he eventually has to leave town. He ends up and dies sacrificing all of his high ideals in order to please his wife.
- Sir James Chettam: A neighbouring landowner, Sir James is in love with Dorothea and helps her with her plans to improve conditions for the tenants. When she marries Casaubon, he marries Celia Brooke.
- Humphrey Cadwallader and Elinor Cadwallader: Neighbours of the Brookes. Mr. Cadwallader is a Rector. Mrs. Cadwallader is a pragmatic and talkative woman who comments on local affairs with wry cynicism. She disapproves of Dorothea’s marriage and Mr. Brooke’s parliamentary endeavours.
- Jane Waule: A widow and Peter Featherstone’s sister; has a son, John.
- Mr. Hawley: Foul-mouthed businessman and enemy of Bulstrode.
- Mr. Mawmsey: Grocer.
- Dr. Sprague: Middlemarch doctor.
- Mr. Tyke: Clergyman favoured by Bulstrode.