The protagonist of the story, Louise is a complex character. She is a doting and devoted wife and is happy with her marriage. However, she suffers from a heart ailment that makes her vulnerable to shocks or emotional outpouring.
She learns about her husband’s death and is strong in the face of such grief. However, her strength comes from the newfound freedom she had never experienced before.
She feels unhindered by a man and is finally free to make her own choices. Her delight is short-lived though as her husband returns hale and hearty. Unable to see her freedom vanish, her heart finally gives up.
He is a loving husband and loves his wife Louise immensely. He is incorrectly reported to have died in an accident and finds it strange when he hears about the rumors and reactions to it.
However, there is another side to his character where he seems to dominate and almost rules the life of his wife. That is the reason she feels relieved and free when she hears about his death.
She is the caring sister of Louise. She learns from Richards of her brother in law’s death in the accident and tries to protect her sister. She is aware of her heart condition and tries to break the sad news as softly as she can.
She is also worried about her when Louise locks herself inside her room. Unlike Louise, who seems to desire freedom and independence, Josephine values family, relationships, and traditions more.
Richards is the friend of the Mallards. He learns about the train accident and rushes to the Mallard house to break the news to Louise. Even though he second checks the information, he is still in a rush to announce Brently’s death.
This may suggest some ulterior motive on his part as he lingers at the house even when Louise and Josephine go upstairs. Alternatively, he might just be concerned about her health as he knows about Louise’s heart condition.
In either case, if he had tried to absolutely ensure the news was authentic, Louise could have been saved from a painful death.