Maggie Tulliver - Maggie is the protagonist of the novel. She is rebellious, wild, compassionate, intelligent, imagintive, curious, and impulsive. The novel follows her as she develops from a curious and spunky young child into a strong and unconventional woman. Throughout the novel, she is constantly struggling to gain her brother Tom's approval and acceptance. She is constantly struggling to gain the acceptance of other's around her. "She only wanted people to think her a clever little girl, and not to find fault with her" (Book 1, Chapter 7). "...Maggie was always wishing she had done something different" (Book 1, Chapter 6). "...her thoughts generally were the oddest mixture of clear-eyed acumen and blind dreams" (Book 1, Chapter 11). "Maggie, moreover, had rather a tenderness for deformed things, she preferred the wry-neck lambs, because it seemed to her that the lambs which were quite strong and well made wouldn't mind so much about being petted; and she was especially fond of petting objects that would think it delightful to be petted by her. She loved Tom very dearly, but she often wished that he cared more about her loving him" (Book 2, Chapter 5). "She was fond of fancying a world where people never grew larger than children of their own age, and she made the queen of it just like Lucy, with a little crown on her head, and a little sceptre in her hand... only the queen was Maggie herself in Lucy's form." (Book 1, Chapter 7)). "'I don't enjoy the happiness as you do else I should be more contented. I do feel for them when they are in trouble; I don't think I could ever bear to make any one unhappy; and I often hate myself, because I get angry sometimes at the sight of happy people. I think I get worse as I get older more selfish. That seems very dreadful.'" (Book 6, Chapter 2).
Tom Tulliver - Tom is Maggie's older brother. Tom is assertive, opinionated, rigid, vindictive, orderly, and has a clear sense of justice and punishment. He has strong opinions on how a family should operate and the duties that one should fulfill. He is a very logical person, deducting from his strong beliefs the best course of action. Tom also has strict views on gender roles and grows upset when Maggie will not allow him to make her decisions for her and look after her. "Tom Tulliver was a lad of honour... he would punish everybody who deserved it: why, he wouldn't have minded being punished himself, if he deserved it; but, then, he never did deserve it" (Book 1, Chapter 5). "Tom Tulliver was quite determined he would never do anything cowardly" (Book 1, Chapter 9). "...he was a boy who adhered tenaciously to impressions once received: as with all minds in which mere perception predominates over thought and emotion, the external remained to him rigidly what it was in the first instance "(Book 2, Chapter 4). "'...the brother is just as insolent (as Mr. Tulliver), only in a cooler way... he'll break every bone in your body, for your greater happiness, if you don't take care.'" (Book 6, Chapter 8). "Tom's was a nature which had a sort of superstitious repugnance to everything exceptional" (Book 5, Chapter 5).
Elizabeth Tulliver - Mrs. Tulliver is Maggie and Tom's mother. Often referred to as "Bessy." She is an example of what a woman "should" be in Victorian society. She is not very bright and preoccupied with household objects like linens and china. "Mrs Tulliver was what is called a good-tempered person--never cried, when she was a baby, on any slighter ground than hunger and pins; and from the cradle upwards had been healthy, fair, plump, and dull-witted' in short, the flower of the family for beauty and amiability" (Book 1, Chapter 3). "Amiable, Mrs Tulliver, who was never angry in her life, had yet her mild share of that spirit without which she could hardly have been at once a Dodson and a woman. Being always on the defensive towards her own sisters, it was natural that she should be keenly conscious of her superiority, even as the weakest Dodson, over a husband's sister..." (Book 2, Chapter 2). "...I wish (Maggie'd) had our family skin." (Book 6, Chapter 2).
Edward Tulliver - Mr. Tulliver is Maggie and Tom's father. Mr. Tulliver is very rash in his decision-making. He is very proud and believes that he is always right. He has a one-track mind, and a very bitter attitude toward life due to the hardships he has faced. Mr. Tulliver considered his mill and his land, his life. He is a figure of unconditional love, specifically towards Maggie and Mrs. Moss, his sister. "Mr Tulliver was a strictly honest man, and proud of being honest, but he considered that in law the ends of justice could only be achieved by employing a stronger knave to frustrate a weaker. Law was a sort of cock-fight, in which it was the business of injured honesty to get a game bird with the best pluck and the strongest spurs" (Book 2, Chapter 2). "'...an ignorant mad brute, who was within an inch of murdering me (Mr. Wakem).'" (Book 6, Chapter 8). "'I should never want to quarrel with any woman, if she kept her place'" (Book 1, Chapter 7).
Lucy Deane - Lucy is Tom and Maggie's cousin. Lucy is very pleasant, selfless, innocent, and angelic. She seems preoccupied with the well-being of others in her life. Lucy is idyllic, in childhood, she is often used as a pawn between Maggie and Tom. "Lucy Deane's such a good child- you may set her on a stool, and there she'll sit for an hour together, and never offer to get off..." (Book 1, Chapter 6). "Lucy put up the neatest little rosebud mouth to be kissed: everything about her was neat-- her round little neck, with the row of coral beads, her straight nose, not at all snubby; her clear eyebrows" (Book 1, Chapter 7). "...little blond angel-head..." (Book 3, Chapter 7).
Philip Wakem- Philip is lawyer Wakem's son. Philip is very intelligent and a quick learner. He possesses a great love for school, as well as drawing. When he was an infant, there was an accident which caused Philips back to be deformed. Due to his deformity, Philip has very low self-esteem, and is prone to fits of anger. He is often described as "womanly" due to his small size and sensitive nature. "...peevish susceptibility...was a symptom of perpetually-recurring mental ailment-half of it nervous irritability, half of it the heart-bitterness produced by the sense of his deformity" (Book 2, Chapter 4). "'But I can’t give up wishing,' said Philip, impatiently. 'It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them. How can we ever be satisfied without them until our feelings are deadened? I delight in fine pictures I long to be able to paint such. I strive and strive and can't produce what I want. This is pain to me, and always will be pain, until my faculties lose their keenness, like aged eyes. Then there are many other things I long for...things hat other men have and that will always be denied me. My life will have nothing great or beautiful in it; I would rather not have lived" (Book 5, Chapter 1). "I love [Maggie] dearly: I shall never love any other woman. I have thought of her since she was a little girl" (Book 6, Chapter 8).
Stephen Guest - Stephen is the son of the senior partner of Guest & Co. He is confident, handsome, and wealthy. When introduced, Stephen is courting Lucy Deane but had not yet proposed. There is always a strong physical tension between Stephen and Maggie, and he eventually falls in love with Maggie. A love that illustrates a strong, sexual attraction (which was basically taboo, and had no language surrounding it during the Victorian era). “Mr. Stephen Guest, whose diamond ring, attar of rose, and air of nonchalant leisure, at twelve o'clock in the day, are the graceful and odoriferous result of the largest oil-mill and the most extensive wharf in St. Ogg's” (Book 6, Chapter 1). "it was of no use to contradict Stephen, when once he had set his mind on anything" (Book 6, Chapter 6).
Lawyer Wakem- Wakem is the father of Philip and the rival of Mr. Tulliver. He is a lawyer, and a wealthy and powerful businessman. He holds Philip very dear, but has a strict and solid view on money and how to use it. Confident and stern, Mr.Tulliver and him have many conflicts. "He was one of those men who can be prompt without being rash, because their motives run in fixed tracks, and they have no need to reconcile conflicting aims" (Book 3, Chapter 7). ""Wakem was Wakem;" that is to say, a man who always knew the stepping stones that would carry him through very muddy bits of practice" (Book 3, Chapter 7). "He was given to observing individuals, not to judging them according to maxims, and no one knew better than he that all men were not like himself" (Book 3, Chapter 7).
Bob Jakin - Bob is Tom's childhood friend, who possesses an outgoing, talkative, tricky demeanor. Tom and Bob have a falling out over an incident where Tom claims Bob was "cheating." Bob resurfaces when the Tullivers encounter their bankruptcy to help Maggie and Tom. When he grows up, he becomes a packman: buying goods at one establishment and selling them to another, using some degree of scamming. "...the rather broad-set but active figure...[he has] pair of blue eyes set in a disc of freckes, and pulled some curly red locks with a strong intention of respect. A low-crowned oilskin-covered hat, and a certain shiny deposit of dirt on the rest of the costume..." (Book 3, Chapter 6). "Bob knew; directly he saw a bird's egg, whether it was a swallow's, or a totit's, or a yellow-hammer's; he found out all the wasps' nests, and could set all sorts of traps; he could climb the trees like a squirrel, and had quite a magical power of detecting hedgehogs and stoats; and he had courage to do things rather naughty, such as making gaps in the hedgerows, throwing stones after sheep, and killing a cat that was wandering incognito" (Book 1, Chapter 6).
Mrs. Glegg - Mrs. Glegg is the eldest sister of Mrs. Tulliver. Therefore she is head of the Dodson sisters. She is outspoken and abrasive, never conscious of how her words affect others. She is straight-forward and honest, as well as dominant and demanding. "...no impartial observer could have denied that for a woman of fifty she had a very comely face and figure" (Book 1, Chapter 7). "...she despised the advantages of costume....when Mrs Glegg died, it would be found that she had better lace laid by in the right-hand drawer of her wardrobe" (Book 1, Chapter 7). "Aunt Glegg always spoke to them in this loud emphatic way, as if she considered them deaf, or perhaps rather idiotic: it was a mean, she though, of making them feel that they were accountable creatures, and might be a salutary check on naughty tendencies. Bessy's children were so spoiled--they'd need have somebody to make them feel their duty" (Book 1, Chapter 7). "She had strong opinion[s]" (Book 1, Chapter 7).
Mr. Glegg - Mr. Glegg is a passive, kind husband and man. He is a successful businessman, who is not willing to take risks but will support his family when he sees benefit for himself. "...though a kind man, he was not as meek as Moses." (Book 1, Chapter 7). "...he surprised himself by his discoveries in natural history, finding that his piece of garden-ground contained wonderful caterpillars, slugs, and insects, which, so far as he had heard, had never before attracted human observation; and he noticed remarkable coincidences between these zoological phenomena and the great events of that time..." (Book 1, Chapter 7). "Mr. Glegg had chosen the eldest Miss Dodson as a handsome embodiment of female prudence and thrift, and being himself of a money-getting, money-keeping turn, had calculated on much conjugal harmony" (Book 1, Chapter 7).
Mrs. Deane - Mrs. Deane is the sister of Mrs. Tulliver, and is Lucy's mother. The quietest of the Dodson sisters, and very careful with her words when she does speak. “Mrs. Deane, the thinnest and sallowest of all the Miss Dodsons” (Book 1, Chapter 7). “Mrs. Dean appeared punctually in that handsome new gig with the head to it, and the livery-servant driving it, which had thrown so clear a light on several traits in her character to some of her female friends in St. Ogg's” (Book 3, Chapter 3). “Mrs. Deane, as her intimate friends observed, was proud and 'having' enough; she wouldn't let her husband stand still in the world for want of spurring” (Book 1, Chapter 7).
Mr. Deane - Mr. Deane is Lucy's father. An up-and-coming junior partner at Guest & Co. He is more preoccupied with business and making money than he is with family life. "Mr. Deane, a large but alert-looking man, with a type of physique to be seen in all ranks of English society- bald crown, red whiskers, full forehead, and a general solidity without heaviness. You may see noblemen like Mr Deane, and you may see grocers or day-labourers like him; but the keenness of his brown eyes was less common than his contour" (Book 1, Chapter 7). “No man was though more highly of in St. Ogg's than Mr. Deane, and some persons were even of opinion that Miss Susan Dodson, who was held to have made the worst match of all the Dodson sisters, might one day ride in a better carriage, and live in a better house, even than her sister Pullet. There was no knowing where a man would stop, who had got his foot into a great mill-owning, ship-owning business like that of Guest & Co,. With a baking concern attached” (Book 1, Chapter 7). "Mr. Deane had been advancing in the world as rapidly as Mr. Tulliver had been going down in it." (Book 3, Chapter 3) "... said Mr. Deane, with that tendency to repress youthful hopes which stout and successful men of fifty find one of their easiest duties" (Book 3, Chapter 5).
Mrs. Pullet - Mrs. Pullet is a sister of Mrs. Tulliver. Mrs. Pullet is the closest to Mrs. Tulliver of all the Dodson sisters. They bond over their shared love of material goods, like china and linens. "'...I don't say I haven't got as good, but I must look out my best to match it.'" (Book 5, Chapter 5). "Aunt Pullet... was much shocked at the shabbiness of her clothes, which, when witnessed by the higher society of St. Ogg's, would be a discredit to the family..." (Book 6, Chapter 6). "Mrs. Pullett's front door mats were by no means intended to wipe shoes on: the very scraper had a deputy to do its dirty work." (Book 1, Chapter 9). "Her imagination was not easily acted on, but she could not help thinking that her case was a hard one, since it appeared that other people thought it hard" (Book 1, Chapter 10). "Mrs. Pullet had married a gentleman farmer, and had leisure and money to carry her crying and everything else to the highest pitch of respectability" (Book 1, Chapter 7).
Mr. Pullet - Mr. Pullet is a farmer, and a fairly successful one at that. Before Mr. Deane's success at Guest & Co., the Pullets were the wealthiest of the Dodson families. He is a quiet man. "...on whom the mysteries of etymology sometimes fell with an oppressive weight" (Book 5, Chapter 5). "He didn't understand politics himself thought they were a natural gift but by what he could make out, this Duke of Wellington was no better than he should be" (Book 1, Chapter 7). "Mr. Pullet was a small man with a high nose, small twinkling eyes, and thin lips, in a fresh-looking suit of black and white crvat, that seemed to have been tied very tight on some higher principle than that of mere personal ease" (Book 1, Chapter 7).
Luke Moggs - The miller for Mr. Tulliver at the mill on the Floss. He tends to Mr. Tulliver during his illness and is generally considered a member of the family. He is a good, hard worker and is very kind. “Luke, the had miller, a tall, broad-shouldered man of forty, black-eyed and black-haired, subdued by a general mealiness, like an auricula” (Book 1, Chapter 4). “I'n got to keep count o' the flour and corn – I can't do wi- knowin' so many things besides my work. That's what brings folks to the gallows – knowin' everything but what they'n got to get their bread by. An' they're mostly lies, I thinkg, what's printed i' the books: them printed sheet are, anyhow, as the men cry i' the streets” (Book 1, Chapter 4).
Mr. Riley - Mr. Riley is the auction manager in St. Ogg's. Mr. Tulliver has great respect for Mr. Riley, and values his wisdom and intelligence. "He was a man with heavy waxen eyelids and high-arched eyebrows, looking exactly the same under all circumstances" (Book 1, Chapter 3). “Mr. Riley, a gentleman with a waxen complexion and fat hands, rather highly educated for an auctioneer and appraiser, but large-hearted enough to show a great deal of bon hommietoward simple country acquaintances of hospitable habits” (Book 1, Chapter 2).
Mr. Stelling - Mr. Stelling is a clergyman, and is also Tom's and Philip's Tutor. He is unimaginative, but intelligent and driven. "Mr Stelling was a well-sized, broad-chested man, not yet thirty, with flaxen hair standing erect, and large lightish-grey eyes, which were always very wide open; he had a sonorous bass voice, and an air of defiant self-confidence inclining to brazenness. He had entered on his career with great vigour, and he intended to make a considerable impression on his fellow-men. The Rev. Walter Stelling was not a man who would remain among the "inferior clergy" all his life. He had a true British determination to push his way in the world" (Book 2, Chapter 1).
Mrs Stelling- Mrs. Stelling is Tom's tutor's wife. She is strict and stiff, by no means warm. "Mrs Stelling was not a loving, tender-hearted woman: she was a woman whose skirt sat well, who adjusted her waist and patted her curls with a preoccupied air when she inquired after your welfare" (Book 2, Chapter 4).
Dr. Kenn - Dr. Kenn is the Minister of St. Ogg's, who befriends Maggie. He is benevolent and magnanimous."'Ah, he's a wonderful preacher, by all account...'" (Book 5, Chapter 5). "'Kenn himself said the other day, that he didn't like this plan of making vanity do the work of tragedy" (Book 6, Chapter 6).
Mrs. Moss - Mrs. Moss is the younger sister of Mr. Tulliver. She married against her brother's will and has eight children. Maggie and Tom refer to her as "Aunt Gritty." She is a loving person and pays special attention to Maggie. Her family is extremely poor. "... a large-boned woman, who had married as poorly as could be; had no china, and had a husband who had much ado to pay his rent" (Book 1, Chapter 7). "Mrs Moss did not take her stand on the equality of the human race: she was a patient, prolific, loving-hearted woman" (Book 1, Chapter 10). She was "poorly off, and inclined to "hang on" her brother, [and] had the good natured submissiveness of a large, easy-tempered, untidy, prolific woman, with affection enough in her not only for her own husband and abundant children, but for any number of collateral relations" (Book 2, Chapter 2).
Mr. Moss - Mr. Moss is the husband of Mrs. Moss. He is a poor farmer, but a very hard worker. "... a husband who had much ado to pay his rent" (Book 1, Chapter 7). “Mr. Moss, who, when he married Miss Tulliver, had been regarded as the buck of Basset, now wore a beard nearly a week old, and had the depressed, unexpectant air of a machine-horse” (Book 1, Chapter 8). “Mr. Moss... knew nothing, as he said, of the 'natur' o' mills,' and could only assent to Mr. Tulliver's argument on the a prioti ground of family relationship and monetary obligation” (Book 2, Chapter 2).
Mr. Pivart - Mr. Pivart is the Tulliver's neighbor who lives down the floss from the Tullivers. He argues with Mr. Tulliver over the river water. “The particular embodiment of the evil principle now exciting Mr. Tulliver's determined resistance was Mr. Pivart, who, having lands higher up the Ripple, was taking measures for their irrigation, which either were, or would be, or were bound to be (on the principle that water was water), an infringement on Mr. Tulliver's legitimate share of water-power” (Book 2, Chapter 2).
Kezia - Kezia is the Tulliver's loyal house servant. "Kezia was equal to the task. Having declared her intention of staying till the master could get about again, "wage or no wage," she had found a certain recompense in keeping a strong hand over her mistress... Altogether this time was trouble was rather a Saturnalian time to Kezia: she could scold her better with unreproved freedom" (Book 3, Chapter 8). “Kezia, the good-hearted, bad-tempered housemaid, who regarded all people that came to the sale as her personal enemies, the dirt on whose feet was of a peculiarly vile quality, had begun to scrub and swill with an energy much assisted by a continual low muttering against 'folks as came to buy up other folks things'... she was bent on bringing the parlor... to such an appearance of scant comfort as could be given to it by cleanliness... her mistress and the young folks should have their tea in it that night, Kezia was determined” (Book 3, Chapter 6).
Mr. Gore - Mr. Gore is Mr. Tulliver's lawyer, who represents him in his case against Wakem. “And it was vexatious that Lawyer Gore was not more like him, but was a bald, round-featured man, with bland manners and fat hands; a game-cock that you would be rash to bed upon against Wakem. Gore was a sly fellow; his weakness did not like on the side of scrupulosity: but the largest amount of winking, however significant, it not equivalent to seeing through a stone wall” (Book 2, Chapter 2).
Mr. Poulter - Mr. Poulter is an ex-soldier and an alcoholic, who loves telling war stories. He is not very intelligent, but brings a lot of character to the schoolroom when teaching Tom. "...Mr Poulter, the village schoolmaster, who, being an old Peninsular soldier, was employed to drill Tom--a source of high mutual pleasure....He had rather a shrunken appearance, and was tremulous in the mornings, not from age, but from the extreme perversity of the King's Lorton boys which nothing but gin could enable him to sustain with any firmness. Still, he carried himself with martial erectness, had his clothes scrupulously brushed, and his trousers tightly strapped" (Book 2, Chapter 4). "But Mr Poulter was a host in himself; that is to say, he admired himself more than a whole army of spectators could have admired him" (Book 2, Chapter 4).
The Miss Guests - The Miss Guests are Stephen Guest's sisters. They are upper-class and regard themselves as so. They are represented as a clump, not as individuals. They are condescending and arrogant. “The Miss Guests saw an alleviation to the sorrow of witnessing a folly in their Rector: at least their brother would be safe; and their knowledge of Stephen's tenacity was a constant ground of alarm to them, lest he should come back and marry Maggie... they had always thought her disagreeable... having quite as good grounds for that judgment as you and I probably have for many strong opinions of the same kind” (Book 7, Chapter 4). “The Miss Guests were much to well-bred to have any of the grimaces and affected tones that belong to pretentious vulgarity; but their stall being next to the one where Maggie sat, it seemed newly obvious today the Miss Guest held her chin too high, and the Miss Laura spoke and moved continually with a view to effect” (Book 6, Chapter 9). “The Miss Guests, who associated chiefly on terms of condescensions with the families of St. Ogg's, and were the glass of fashion there, took some exception to Maggie's manners” (Book 6, Chapter 6).