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Character Roles (Protagonist, Antagonist...)
Tools of Characterization
The Artful Dodger
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Oliver Twist Characters
Meet the Cast
Oliver might be the main character, but he’s not all that complicated…but the way he is interpreted and shuffled around by all the other characters sure gets messy.What does Oliver̵...
Fagin is pretty clearly a bad guy. But the racial prejudice apparent in Dickens’s characterization of Fagin can make readers (very) uncomfortable. Dickens often refers to him only as "th...
Nancy might be the most complicated character of the novel. Despite being a relatively minor character, she has a very important role to play – she’s the source of the information about...
The Artful Dodger
The Artful Dodger is one of the most famous and memorable characters in the novel. He provides comic relief in part because of his anti-establishment, devil-may-care attitude, but also because of t...
Charley Bates serves the same role as the Dodger – comic relief – but in a slightly different way. The Dodger is funny because he’s so knowing, and knows too much for his age, so...
Is there anything at all likeable about Sikes? Seriously, what does Nancy see in this guy? Sikes is brave and strong, for sure, and he’s a straight shooter. He doesn’t like it when Fagi...
Mr. Brownlow is Oliver’s first friend and mentor. He’s had a rough life – he was going to marry his best friend’s sister (Victorians were fond of doing that…it was the...
Mrs. Maylie is so darn good, it’s hard to know what to say about her. She apparently makes a habit of taking in questionable orphans, even though she already had a son of her own. Once, when...
Rose is the sweetest, loveliest, most virtuous young lady EVER. She’s pretty much a stock Victorian heroine. She’s self-sacrificing, loving, kind to animals and small children, and blon...
Harry doesn’t actually appear all that much in the novel, but from what we’re able to gather, he’s the typical Victorian hero: young, attractive, active, devoted to his mother and...
Mr. Giles is the butler/steward at Mrs. Maylie’s house. This is an odd position: he’s a servant, but he’s kind of at the top of the servant social ladder. Servants are often some...
Mr. Grimwig is a typical Dickens character: he is eccentric, and his eccentricity takes the form of a frequently repeated verbal or physical tick. His favorite expression is, "I’ll eat my hea...
Mr. Losberne is a country doctor and old family friend of the Maylies. He’s unmarried, and if he were young enough, he’d probably have a thing for Rose (heck, he might have a thing for...
Mr. Bumble is the beadle in the town where Oliver is born. As beadle, he’s responsible for running all of the "charitable" institutions in the parish – including the baby farms and the...
Mrs. Corney is cautious, distrustful, cruel, and power-hungry. We first meet her when she’s fixing herself tea in her snug little room on a blustery winter’s day. The snugness of her li...
Monks is the primary villain of the novel, in that he’s the one who’s really out to get Oliver, but because he appears in so few scenes, he’s listed lower than some of the arguabl...
Noah’s another typical minor Dickens character, in that he’s grotesque, absurd, and exaggerated. He’s skinny, lean, and eel-like, and has a taste for oysters and sneaking. Honestl...
Agnes gets the first and the last words of the novel, so even though she’s only alive for about five minutes at the beginning, we figure she’s actually pretty important. Agnes, we later...