Top 5 Characters in Victorian Fiction
Victorian fiction was never a genre that I thought I would find such pleasure in reading. However, as time has gone on and I explore more and more Victorian fiction novels, I have found that the characters created in this era are some of my favourites of all time. So here are my top 5 characters in Victorian fiction!
1. Heathcliff- Wuthering Heights
Honestly, I couldn’t write this list without Mr Heathcliff being at the top. Since Studying Bronte’s work at GCSE, Heathcliff has been a character whom I love and hate both at the same time. I don’t think I’ve read another book with a character that has the same effect on me as Heathcliff. I strive to understand him, and want to know more about him every time I read Wuthering Heights (I have lost count now of how many times) but I’ve identified a different aspect of his personality. He is complex, irrational and makes snap decisions, but at the same time caring, hard-working and loyal. The bottom line, is that I don’t fully understand him and probably never will. But this is why he is top of my list.
2. Elizabeth Bennett- Pride and Prejudice
Now, Lizzie Bennet is interesting. I think I like her because she defies the stereotype of ‘female’ in the Victorian era, even though in the end she does end up conforming through her marriage. But pushing that aside, she is quick witted and intelligent and generally a character that I would want to be friends with.
3. Frankenstein’s Monster- Frankenstein
Frankenstein’s monster is one of the most debated characters in all of Victorian fiction. Is he a human? Is he good? Or is he a product of his upbringing? All in all, I think he is sweet. Describing a murderous monster as sweet is slightly oxymoronic, but anyone that has read Frankenstein will understand what I mean. He has often been a topic of debate and is central to many arguments concerning nature versus nurture.
4. Miss Havisham- Great Expectations
Dickens creates one of the most flamboyant and extravagant characters in Great Expectations. Miss Havisham, who spends her life in an old wedding dress in her rotting mansion, lets one tragic event define the rest of her life. She is one of the most memorable characters in all of Victorian fiction. She summarises many Victorian values, and is an example of someone stuck in time. She has to be a part of this list just because she is so interesting and makes for very interesting analysis.
5. Becky Sharp- Vanity Fair
Born an orphan, Becky Sharp shows sociopathic qualities and, because of this, manages to rise to the upper limits of high society. She then has to watch as her achievements are destroyed under the weight of her own bad deeds. Is she actually an evil temptress, and the stereotype of a crazy Victorian woman, or was she just a misunderstood woman ahead of her time? I will let you decide.
by Amy Hardman