Emma Woodhouse The imaginative and self-deceived heroine of the novel. At almost twenty-one years of age, she is handsome, accomplished, and willful, her main duty in life that of being companion and mistress of the house for her widower father.
Henry Woodhouse Emma's elderly father, who basks in routine and Emma's attentions and resists any kind of change, compensating somewhat for his selfish whims by being kindly and concerned about people's health.
George Knightley A well-to-do man of about thirty-seven or thirty-eight, an admirably calm and rational man who for years has befriended and advised Emma.
Miss Anne Taylor For years Emma's devoted governess and friend, who at the beginning of the novel has just married Mr. Weston.
Mr. Weston A near neighbor to the Woodhouses, whose son by a former marriage is Frank Churchill.
Philip Elton The rector of Highbury, a twenty-six-year-old clergyman who is very eligible for marriage.
Frank Churchill Mr. Weston's son, who has never visited Highbury but who has a reputation for polished charm and manners.
Miss Hetty Bates The kindly old maid talker who, at least in her dialogue, runs the details of everything together as of equal importance.
Jane Fairfax Miss Bates' orphan niece, elegant and accomplished, who has visited her aunt in Highbury before but not for two years now.
Harriet Smith The illegitimate, seventeen-year-old girl whom Emma befriends and tries to marry off to Mr. Elton.
Robert Martin A respected young farmer who wants to marry Harriet Smith.
Augusta Hawkins A vain and talkative young lady whom Mr. Elton meets on a trip to Bath and to whom he quickly gets himself engaged.
John and Isabella Knightley Respectively the brother of George Knightley and the sister of Emma Woodhouse, they, except for occasional visits to Highbury, live in London with their five children.
Mrs. Goddard The lady who runs the boarding school where Harriet Smith lives.
Mr. and Mrs. Cole A nouveau riche couple who are determinedly making their way into Highbury society.
Mr. Perry The village apothecary, who is Mr. Woodhouse's constant reference on matters of health.