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Characters

Meet the Cast

David Copperfield

Lessons LearnedDavid Copperfield is often called a Bildungsroman, a German term for a novel of learning or development. The idea behind a Bildungsroman is that every (good) character has a goal to...

Tommy Traddles

When Traddles first appears as one of David's school friends at Salem House, we think he's just going to be a random one-off, the kid who draws skeletons whenever he's beaten to remind himself that...

James Steerforth

Steerforth is one of those effortlessly graceful people who turn everything they touch into gold. You know, every school has at least one: the popular kid who seems easily to get whatever he wants....

Miss Betsey Trotwood

We. Love. Miss. Betsey. Like, if there is a fan club for Miss Betsey out there, then we want to (a) know about it, and (b) be its president. (Sadly, we just Googled "Betsey Trotwood fan club," and...

Mr. Dick

Mr. Dick is an older man living with Miss Betsey in her cottage at Dover. He is mentally disabled: he cannot look after himself. He is also about the kindest, most loyal guy out there – he th...

Dora Spenlow

David falls in love with his boss's daughter, Dora Spenlow, at first sight. And, quite frankly, we're not quite sure why. David seems taken with Dora because she is lovely, paints flowers, and play...

Agnes Wickfield

Agnes Wickfield is an angel. We know it because David tells us so, like, a million times. But she also shows it through her appearance and behavior. We first encounter Agnes when David moves to Can...

Mr. Wickfield

Mr. Wickfield is a lawyer and businessman living in the town of Canterbury, where David goes to school after running away from London to his aunt's house in Dover. Mr. Wickfield is the business man...

Uriah Heep

Uriah Heep is not a person; he's an evil machine. He's like a really slow-acting version of the Terminator, bent on the destruction of anyone and everyone who has it better than him. And he will ne...

Peggotty

Peggotty is David's old nurse and his mother's housekeeper. Her primary characteristic, so far as we can see (besides the red, rough cheeks David keeps teasing her for) is her loyalty. Even though...

Mrs. Clara Copperfield

We think Miss Betsey Trotwood says it best when she describes Mrs. Copperfield as "a very Baby" (1.18). Miss Betsey is commenting on Mrs. Copperfield's appearance – her big blue eyes, her flo...

Mr. Murdstone

Let's just say this up front: Mr. Murdstone is one mean dude. He's a vicious tyrant who gets his jollies from tormenting weak, defenseless women under the guise of "improving" them or "disciplining...

Mr. Micawber

Mr. Micawber is Comic Relief – in the grimmest part of the novel, when David has been cast out by his stepfather and is basically roaming the streets of London, in steps Mr. Micawber to light...

Mr. Peggotty

Mr. Peggotty, the elder brother of David's old nurse, is a fisherman living in the coastal city of Yarmouth. Mr. Peggotty is also a good man. Mr. Peggotty is such a good man that we find it almost...

Emily

Emily is a lovely, graceful child, and David falls in love with her as soon as he sees her (when David is eight). Emily is the daughter of Peggotty's brother-in-law, Tom (so the Peggottys must have...

Ham Peggotty

Ham is Peggotty's nephew, the son of her brother Joe Peggotty, who drowned when Ham was a child. So, Ham is an orphan who has been raised by Mr. Peggotty to follow in his footsteps as a fisherman....

Doctor Strong

Doctor Strong is the headmaster of David's second, much better, school. Unlike Mr. Creakle, he has no trouble keeping order because all of the students respect and love him. He treats them all like...

Mrs. Annie Strong

Annie is Doctor Strong's much younger wife. She is the object of a ton of gossip and suspicion – including from Mr. Wickfield – because she appears to use her husband to arrange a job f...

Adams

Adams is the Head Boy (like a class president) at Doctor Strong's school when David arrives as a new pupil. He doesn't find Adams nearly as impressive as Steerforth. Even so, after so many months w...

Captain Bailey

When David's in the midst of his schoolboy crush on Miss Larkins, David makes the mistake of thinking Captain Bailey is his primary competition for her heart. After all, he is a dashing army office...

Mr. Barkis

Mr. Barkis is a cart-driver who brings David from his home village of Blunderstone, Suffolk, to Yarmouth, where the Peggottys live. Yarmouth is also David's gateway to London and the larger world,...

The Butcher

This young butcher announces that he'll beat the tar out of any of the boys who attends Doctor Strong's school. David accepts this challenge and gets his butt kicked the first time around. But afte...

Mr. Chestle

Mr. Chestle is an unattractive older man who Miss Larkins plans to marry. He admires David's boldness in asking Miss Larkins to dance so many times and invites David to come visit his hop-selling e...

Mr. Chillip

If Mr. Chillip could be given another name, his name would be Plot Device. He's basically around at key moments in the story to give background information or to draw out the character of another,...

Mr. Copperfield

We never actually meet Mr. Copperfield in the flesh (since he dies before David is even born), but we do get some hints as to his character. It turns out that Mr. Copperfield had a falling out with...

Mr. Creakle

Mr. Creakle is the headmaster of Salem House, David's first boarding school. He is acquainted with Mr. Murdstone. When David arrives for his first term, Mr. Creakle orders Mr. Mell to give David a...

Mrs. Creakle

Mr. Creakle's abusive sadism isn't limited to the boys in his school. He is also an absolute tyrant in his home life. Mrs. Creakle is terrified of him, which further emphasizes Mr. Creakle's viciou...

The Creakle Children

Miss Creakle is Mr. Creakle's daughter, and like Mrs. Creakle, she appears to be terrified of the man. There are rumors that she is in love with Steerforth (though this may well be invented because...

Sophy Crewler

Sophy is Traddles's beloved fiancée. She is so patient, caring, and hard-working that her family cannot bear to part with her. They seem positively to resent Traddles for getting engaged to th...

Reverend Crewler and Mrs. Crewler

Sophy's father and mother, and Traddles's in-laws.

The Crewler Girls

Caroline Crewler (The Beauty)The Beauty is also known as Caroline Crewler, Sophy's oldest sister. She is much admired by the rest of the family for being, you know, beautiful. But she is also unluc...

Mrs. Crupp

Ms. Crupp is the owner of the apartment building David rents rooms in when he first gets his proctor job in London. The rooms are nice, but Ms. Crupp is not. She makes it her business to do as litt...

Miss Rosa Dartle

Miss Dartle is living proof to us (if we need more evidence) that Steerforth's fatal flaw is his uncompromising, stubborn temper. Miss Dartle is an orphaned cousin of Steerforth's late father. Mrs....

Martha Endell

Martha Endell is barely a character at all. Even though she plays a pivotal role in the plot of David Copperfield, her character is a pretty generic representation of a lonely woman who falls into...

Mrs. Fibbitson

Mrs. Fibbitson is a friend and neighbor of Mrs. Mell's in the poor house. She comes over to listen to Mr. Mell play the flute (miserably).

Grainger

One of the two friends of Steerforth's that accompany David and Steerforth on David's one, disastrous drunken outing into London. Of course he would bump into Agnes while sozzled – so embarra...

Mrs. Gummidge

Mrs. Gummidge is the widow of Mr. Peggotty's business partner. Mr. Peggotty takes her into his house after her husband dies, and she does the cooking and cleaning for Mr. Peggotty, Ham, and Emily....

Mrs. Heep

Mrs. Heep is Uriah Heep's devoted mother. Uriah Heep lives with her while he works as a clerk for Doctor Wickfield, and she also comes to move in with him as he becomes a partner in Mr. Wickfield's...

Janet

Janet is Miss Betsey's maid at her cottage in Dover. She is a sensible, neat, pretty girl of about nineteen. Janet is the latest in a line of girls Miss Betsey has employed "expressly to educate [t...

Jip

Jip is Dora Spenlow's lapdog, an irritable little animal whom she spoils rotten. He's a jealous creature, and likes to bark at people who might distract Dora's attention away from Jip himself. He c...

Joram

Joram the carpenter works with Mr. Omer. He's the one who builds the coffin that holds Mrs. Copperfield and her infant son. He also winds up marrying Minnie Omer. By the end of the novel, they have...

Mr. Jorkins

Mr. Jorkins is the business partner of David's employer, Mr. Spenlow. He exists mostly as a boogeyman for Mr. Spenlow to refer to whenever an employee asks Mr. Spenlow a favor. When David asks to b...

Miss Larkins

Miss Larkins is a woman of about thirty and David's next serious crush after Miss Shepherd. He meets her at local dances and falls desperately, embarrassingly in love with her. He spruces himself u...

Littimer

Littimer is Steerforth's extremely discreet and formal servant. His presence always makes David feel terribly young, because Littimer is so precise and exact about all of his duties. Littimer and S...

Jack Maldon

Jack Maldon is Annie Strong's cousin. He's a fairly useless guy. He can't hold down a job on his own, but he feels totally entitled to one. So, he expects Annie Strong to make her doting husband em...

Markham

One of Steerforth's two friends to accompany David and Steerforth on David's drunken excursion to the opera. For more on this episode, check out our "Character Roles."

Mrs. Markleham

Mrs. Markleham is also known as "the Old Soldier," because she is constantly maneuvering around her son-in-law. As David puts it, "our boys used to call her the Old Soldier, on account of her gener...

Mealy Potatoes

Mealy Potatoes is one of the boys working at Mr. Murdstone's factory alongside David. Once, he gets kind of uppity because all of the other boys treat David with deference, as a gentleman's son. Bu...

Mr. Mell

Mr. Mell is one of Salem House's three masters, along with Mr. Sharp and Mr. Creakle. He is a shabby, down-at-heel man who comes to meet David at a London inn when David first travels to his new bo...

Mrs. Mell

Mrs. Mell is David's mentor Mr. Mell's mother. She gives David lunch when Mr. Mell goes to meet David the first time David travels from Blunderstone, Suffolk, to Salem House, just outside London. S...

Mrs. Micawber

Like Mr. Micawber, Mrs. Micawber is primarily Comic Relief. She shares his talent for big words that don't say much and for writing panicky letters to David. But she is essentially a good-natured w...

Master Micawber

Master Micawber is Mr. Micawber's oldest son. He's a restless, smart kid who doesn't really appear much in the book. Mr. Micawber wants him to sing in choirs, but what he actually seems to enjoy do...

Miss Micawber

Miss Micawber is the eldest daughter of the Micawber family; she's a year younger than Master Micawber.

Miss Julia Mills

Miss Mills is a friend of Dora's. She is a couple of years older – around 21 when David and Dora first meet. She has been unlucky in love, so she looks at David and Dora's romance from the re...

Miss Mowcher

Miss Mowcher, like Mr. Dick, is living proof of that old saying that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. When David first meets Miss Mowcher, he's staying at Yarmouth with Steerforth. Miss Mow...

Miss Murdstone

Miss Murdstone is the unmarried elder sister of Mr. Murdstone. As soon as Mr. Murdstone moves in to Mrs. Copperfield's house, Miss Murdstone accompanies him. And later on, when David hears of Mr. M...

The Infant Murdstone

David's little brother never gets a name in the novel, in part because he lives for so little time that he doesn't truly have a character. The baby is both a plot point, since its birth is what des...

Mr. Omer

Mr. Omer runs a clothing store in Yarmouth with a helpful sideline in undertaking. He prepares Mrs. Copperfield, David's little brother, and Mr. Barkis for burial. Mr. Omer is pretty much there as...

Minnie Omer

Minnie is Mr. Omer's daughter. We first meet her when David is traveling home to his mother's funeral and he meets the Omers, who are preparing Mrs. Copperfield's body for burial. As the Omers trav...

Mary Anne Paragon

Mary Anne is David and Dora's first servant. When she comes to them, they have references for her that say that she is indeed a paragon, just as her name says. (A paragon is a model of excellence.)...

Mr. Passnidge

Mr. Passnidge is Mr. Murdstone's friend. He meets Mr. Murdstone and Mr. Quinion at a Blunderstone pub to talk about Mrs. Copperfield and to laugh at David. For more on the joke of "Brooks of Sheffi...

Mr. Quinion

Mr. Quinion manages the accountant portion of Mr. Murdstone's business, a wine merchant called Murdstone and Grinby. After Mrs. Copperfield dies, Mr. Murdstone confronts David with Mr. Quinion in t...

Mr. Sharp

Mr. Sharp is the second master of Salem House. He doesn't take a particular interest in David, as Mr. Mell does, so he basically fades into the background. His greatest moment comes when he sends D...

Miss Shepherd

Miss Shepherd goes to a local girls school in Canterbury. Her school pairs up with David's school for dancing lessons. Miss Shepherd is David's first real crush after Emily. He gives her presents a...

Mr. Spenlow

Considering that this man is the father of David's first wife, we don't actually get to see very much of him in the novel. Mr. Spenlow is David's immediate boss in the proctor form of Spenlow and J...

Miss Lavinia Spenlow

Miss Lavinia is one of Dora Spenlow's two aunts, the ones who take Dora in to their home when her father dies suddenly. She is also the one of the two who is supposed to have had a brush with roman...

Miss Clarissa Spenlow

Miss Clarissa is the second of Dora Spenlow's two aunts. When David comes over to explain his love for Dora, Miss Clarissa can't hold back her resentment of her dead brother. Apparently, while Mr....

Mrs. Steerforth

Mrs. Steerforth is like a walking, talking explanation for why Steerforth is such a bad person. Not that she's been abusive to him, oh no – just the opposite. She has channeled her entire emo...

Miss Betsey Trotwood's Husband

This is Miss Betsey's estranged husband, whose name we never learn. Heartbroken and enraged, after separating from her husband, Miss Betsey drops his name and returns to her maiden name. We hear hi...

Tungay

Tungay is the caretaker of Salem House. He has a wooden leg. He absolutely hates all of the students and works as hard as he can to make their lives miserable. He is also firmly tied to Mr. Creakle...

Mick Walker

Mick Walker is one of the boys working at Mr. Murdstone's factory Like David, it is Mick's job to check glass bottles for flaws, wash them, and generally prepare them for bottling wine. David doesn...

Mr. Waterbrook

Mr. Waterbrook is Mr. Wickfield's agent. He hosts the Wickfields when Agnes and Mr. Wickfield come to London on business. It's on this disastrous trip to London that Agnes sees David blind drunk at...

Mrs. Waterbrook

Mr. Waterbrook's wife. Both the Waterbrooks use their dinner party as an occasion to remind their guests that the most important thing in life is "Blood" (i.e., good birth). Sure, "service, intelle...

Yawler

Yawler is a former schoolmate of David and Traddles from Salem House. He helps Traddles get several jobs in London, including in Mr. Waterbrook's office.
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