Edna Pontellier Main protagonist who, while in a passionless marriage to Léonce Pontellier, falls in love with Robert Lebrun and has a brief affair with Alcée Arobin. A member of New Orleans' upper class, she has artistic leanings.
Léonce Pontellier Edna's husband, a successful and materialistic businessman.
Robert Lebrun Charismatic young man who falls in love with Edna during her summer on Grand Isle; has a history of maintaining mock romances with unattainable women.
Alcée Arobin Accomplished ladies' man who pursues an affair with Edna.
Mademoiselle Reisz Virtuoso pianist whom Edna meets on Grand Isle. Upon returning to New Orleans, Edna visits her to hear her play piano and read letters that Robert has written to her.
Madame Adèle Ratignolle The epitome of the "mother-woman," a devoted wife and mother whom Edna befriends on Grande Isle; their friendship continues while back in New Orleans.
Monsieur Ratignolle Madame Ratignolle's husband, a successful pharmacist.
Madame Lebrun Owner and hostess of the Grand Isle boardinghouse (called a pension); mother of Robert and Victor.
Victor Lebrun Temperamental, strong-willed, and spoiled but very good-looking son of Madame Lebrun.
Mariequita Flirtatious Spanish girl who has a crush on Victor and possibly on Robert, as well.
Etienne and Raoul Pontellier Edna and Léonce's young sons.
The quadroon Nanny to Edna's children.
Dr. Mandelet Old family friend and physician to the Pontelliers, whom Léonce consults about Edna's strange behavior. The doctor knows but does not tell Léonce that Edna is in love with another man.
Mrs. James Highcamp Middle-aged society woman who enjoys the company of fashionable young men; spends time at the racetrack with Edna and Alcée.
Mrs. Merriman Friend of Mrs. Highcamp and Arobin; Edna comes into contact with Arobin through Mrs. Merriman and Mrs. Highcamp.
The Colonel Edna's father, a retired colonel in the Confederate army.
Janet Edna's younger sister, whose wedding Edna refuses to attend because of her distaste for marriage.
Margaret Edna' older sister, who raised Edna after their mother died.
The lady in black Highly devout, elderly woman staying at the Grand Isle boardinghouse, usually seen with a prayerbook or rosary in hand.
The lovers Courting couple on Grand Isle usually seen by themselves, enthralled in their new romance.
Monsieur Farival Elderly gentleman vacationing on Grand Isle at the boardinghouse.
The Farival twins Monsieur Farival's granddaughters who repeatedly practice on piano a duet from the opera Zampa.
Celestine Edna's live-in servant at the "pigeon house."
Laidpore Edna's drawing teacher and art broker; he sells her work, allowing her a small income.
Montel Old family friend of the Lebruns' whom Robert meets with in Mexico to seek his fortune.