Henry Dashwood: Father of John Dashwood (from his first marriage), husband to Margaret (his second wife), and father to Elinor and Marianne, Henry Dashwood dies in the first scene of the play and leaves his Norland estate to John but makes him promise to be generous with his inheritance towards Mrs. Dashwood, Elinor, and Marianne.
Margaret Dashwood: Henry’s second wife and John’s stepmother, Margaret Dashwood is left impoverished after Henry’s death. She is the loving, emotional, and gentle mother of Elinor and Marianne and wants only the best for them.
Elinor Dashwood: Nineteen-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Dashwood and John’s half-sister, Elinor Dashwood is practical and composed. She falls in love with Edward Ferrars but does not open up about her feelings for him except to Marianne; thus, she quietly suffers because of misunderstandings between them.
Marianne Dashwood: Seventeen-year-old sister of Elinor and half-sister of John Dashwood, Marianne Dashwood is spontaneous, romantic, and emotional. She falls in love with John Willoughby who eventually spurns her.
John Dashwood: Son of Henry Dashwood and half-brother to Elinor and Marianne, John Dashwood is weak and easily influenced by his wife. As such, he fails to fulfill the promise made to his father to provide financially for Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters.
Fanny Dashwood: John Dashwood’s domineering, selfish, and manipulative wife, Fanny Dashwood is the sister of Edward and Robert Ferrars.
Sir John Middleton: Distant cousin to Mrs. Margaret Dashwood, Sir John Middleton offers her and her daughters a place to live following the death of her husband.
Lady Middleton: Wife of Sir John Middleton.
Mrs. Jennings: Lady Middleton’s gossipy but goodhearted mother, Mrs. Jennings invites Elinor and Marianne to stay with her in London during the winter and makes it her “project” to get them married as soon as possible.
Edward Ferrars: Eldest brother of Fanny and Robert, Edwad Ferrars is private, sensible, and kind. He is drawn to a quiet life, though he is caught under his mother’s rule. He and Elinor are immediately attracted to each other, but other obligations initially prevent them from being together.
Robert Ferrars: Younger, conceited brother of Edward and Fanny.
Mrs. Ferrars: Manipulative, wealthy mother of Edward, Robert, and Fanny, Mrs. Ferrars would have Edward follow a career and marriage path that he is adamantly against. Money and reputation are pivotal to her.
John Willoughby: Charming but untrustworthy neighbor of Sir John’s, John Willoughby seems to be as impassioned with Marianne as she is with him, but he leaves her suddenly and offers no explanation to his departure.
Colonel Brandon: Retired officer and bachelor, Colonel Brandon is a friend of Sir John Middleton. He becomes enamored of Marianne Dashwood, is honorable and kind towards the Dashwoods, and is essential to uncovering the truth about John Willoughby.
Mrs. Charlotte Palmer: Mrs. Jennings’s silly and talkative daughter.
Mr. Palmer: Charlotte’s crotchety, unemotional husband.
Lucy Steele: A distant cousin of Mrs. Jennings, Miss Lucy Steele has been secretly engaged to Edward Ferrars for four years.
Anne Steele: Lucy’s older, unmarried sister, Anne Steele accidently reveals to Elinor the details of Lucy’s secret engagement to Edward.
Baines: Mrs. Jennings’ butler in London.
Doctor: Treats Marianne when she becomes gravely ill.