Character List


Mme. Vauquer A stingy, hypocritical, middle-aged widow, humble to the rich, heartless to the poor, she is hypnotized by Vautrin because of his strength, joviality, and gallantry.

Sylvie The "sturdy cook."

Christophe The handyman.

Poiret A small bourgeois of vague antecedents, who could have been a government clerk or a hangman's aid; a robot of a man, mechanically repeating what other people have said.

Mlle. Michonneau A stingy, meek old maid, well paired with Poiret. Ready to do anything for money, she will turn Vautrin over to the police.

Mme. Couture A ray of sunshine in this drab boardinghouse. The widow of an army commissary general, who has appointed herself guardian and chaperone of Victorine Taillefer.

Victorine Taillefer One of the touching feminine characters depicted by Balzac, she reminds the reader of Eugénie Grandet; the daughter of a rich man who has disowned her and who wants to cut her from his will in favor of his son Frederic.

Bianchon A medical student, a friend of Eugène de Rastignac who will be with Eugène the only ones in attendance at Goriot's agony and funeral.

Vautrin A strong, jovial, gallant man, soon discovered to be the escaped convict Jacques Collin, alias "Trompe la Mort," a banker for the underworld.

Old Goriot A former manufacturer of vermicelli who has sacrificed his fortune and accepted a miserable life at the boardinghouse to see his daughters happy.

Eugène de Rastignac A young and ambitious student from a poor aristocratic family. In his efforts to conquer Paris, he will become involved with Goriot's two daughters: first with Anastasie, who will scorn him, and then with Delphine, who will love him.

Gobseck One of the reappearing characters in the Comédie Humaine; a usurer who has been running a highly successful business and who counts among his clients Old Goriot and his daughter Anastasie.

M. Taillefer Victorine's rich father.

Frederic Taillefer Victorine's brother, whose murder will be ordered by Vautrin so that Victorine may inherit the family's fortune.

Mme. de Rastignac Eugène's mother, kind and indulgent to her son.

Laure de Rastignac Eugène's sister, a very minor character, but the most charming female in this book, devoid of the egoism we find in Anastasie or Delphine and of Victorine's passivity.

Mme. de Beauséant Rastignac's cousin. She will introduce Eugène into society and give him friendly help and good advice on how to succeed.

Marquis d'Ajuda-Pinto Mme. de Beauséant's lover.

Duchess de Langeais One of Mme. de Beauséant's malicious "friends."

Anastasie de Restaud One of Old Goriot's daughters. She is presented as a spoiled, self-centered young person, interested only in social prominence.

Count de Restaud Anastasie's husband, a violent, heartless aristocrat.

Maxime de Trailles A young nobleman, Anastasie's lover.

Delphine de Nucingen Goriot's second daughter, a more complex character than Anastasie. A very pretty girl, spoiled and self-centered like her sister, but she can show true love for Rastignac and tenderness for her father.

Baron de Nucingen Delphine's husband, an unrefined Alsatian banker.

De Marsay A young aristocrat, Delphine's first love.