Maggie Tulliver The intelligent, emotionally sensitive daughter of a country mill-owner. Her life is the central story of the novel.
Tom Tulliver Maggie's older brother, whom she loves in spite of his strictness with her.
Mr. Tulliver Fiery owner of Dorlcote Mill. He is particularly attached to his daughter Maggie, whom he resembles in his generosity and emotional spontaneity.
Mrs. Tulliver Mother of Tom and Maggie. She is the youngest of four Dodson sisters, and is a pleasant-looking, unintelligent woman concerned mainly with her household possessions.
Mrs. Glegg Oldest of the Dodson sisters, and the one in whom the family's strict traditions are preserved in the purest state. She is cautious with money, unbending in personal relationships, and strict in observance of custom.
Mr. Glegg A self-made businessman, now retired and concerned mainly with his garden and his reflections on the ways of women.
Mrs. Pullet The second Dodson sister, a hypochrondriac married to a scrawny gentleman-farmer.
Mr. Pullet The gentleman-farmer, whose character consists almost entirely of his memory for his wife's prescriptions and his affection for lozenges.
Mrs. Deane The third Dodson sister. She was once considered to have made a poor marriage, but it appears to be turning out better than any of the others.
Mr. Deane A shrewd businessman, new partner in the firm of Guest and Company.
Lucy Deane Tom and Maggie's cousin. By Dodson standards she is the perfect child — beautiful, obedient, and always quiet.
Lawyer Wakem Archenemy of Mr. Tulliver, who considers all lawyers to be in league with the devil. Wakem's legal skill is instrumental in ruining Mr. Tulliver.
Philip Wakem Son of the lawyer. He has been deformed in a childhood accident and is highly sensitive about it. An artist of moderate talent, he falls in love with Maggie when they meet at the school Philip and Tom attend together.
Stephen Guest Son of the principal partner of Guest and Company. He intends to marry Lucy Deane, but falls in love with her cousin Maggie.
Bob Jakin A lower-class childhood companion of Tom Tulliver. He becomes a peddler, and his glib tongue and shrewd business sense are an important aid to Tom's financial success.
Dr. Kenn Anglican clergyman of the parish of St. Ogg's. He is a touchstone for the author's views on social morality.
Rev. Walter Stelling A financially ambitious clergyman who is schoolmaster to Tom and Philip.
Mr. Riley A local auctioneer who advises Mr. Tulliver to send Tom to school to Rev. Stelling.
Mr. Poulter Tom's drillmaster at school.
Mr. Pivart A new neighbor against whom Mr. Tulliver goes to law over water rights.
Luke The miller who works for Mr. Tulliver.
Mrs. Moss Mr. Tulliver's sister, who has made a poor marriage to an impoverished farmer.