The Lapham Family
Silas This central character is presented as a tragic as well as a comic hero. Because of his greed and pride, he loses his business, constituting a tragic downfall; but his moral decision to live for others raises him spiritually, bringing him to a happy, peaceful state of mind in the end.
Persis Silas' wife, and a schoolteacher.
Penelope The older daughter of Silas and Persis.
Irene The younger daughter of the Laphams.
Bromfield Silas Lapham finds Bromfield Corey to be offensively aristocratic. Bromfield is the spokesman for the intelligent, aristocratic class, although he says that to his relief he has found himself to be of common clay rather than porcelain. "If I get broken," he says, "I can be easily replaced."
Anna Bromfield's wife.
Tom Tom Corey, in a way, replaces the son Silas Lapham lost at birth. Silas takes him as a son-in-law and as an employee.
Lily Lily Corey is a frail girl who, like many romantic women, lives off her family's wealth. Her character is not developed.
Nanny The Corey's youngest child.
Rogers Silas forced Rogers out the paint business after he had made a start with his partner's capital. A tallish, thin man with dust-colored face and a dead, clerical air, which somehow suggested at once feebleness and tenacity, Rogers reappears to ask Silas for a loan.
Sewell A minister and counselor to Lapham when Penelope refuses to marry Tom Corey.
Zerrilla Millon Dewey Zerrilla Dewey is Silas' typist.
Seymour Mr. Seymour is Lapham's architect. He saves Silas from making a great deal of artistic blunders when building his house.
Bartley Hubbard Hubbard writes a series called "Solid Men of Boston" for the Boston Events newspaper.