"I should have thought that every woman must have felt the possibility of a man's not being approved, not being loved by some one of her sex at least, let him be ever so generally agreeable. Let him have all the perfections in the world, I think it ought not to be set down as certain that a man must be acceptable to every woman he may happen to like himself."
The protagonist of the novel, Fanny Price is the poor relation of the Bertram family, who comes to live with them at a young age and grows up alongside her cousins. While the majority of the family ignore or mistreat her, her cousin Edmund treats her well and she falls in love with him. But he falls in love with a new vivacious neighbor Mary Crawford whose brother pursues Fanny and her female cousins.
- Abusive Guardians: Mrs. Norris most obviously; the Betram parents aren't malicious, but they are neglectful.
- Birds of a Feather: With Edmund.
- Book Dumb: When she first arrives at Mansfield Park, Fanny knows very little about the arts or humanities.
- Born in the Wrong Century: Seems to be a Charlotte Brontė heroine who somehow got lost in a Jane Austen novel.
- Break the Cutie: Age ten to eighteen sees Fanny go from a sweet young girl to an Extreme Doormat thanks to the emotional abuse and neglect she finds at Mansfield.
- The Cassandra: She sees how flirty Henry Crawford and self-centered Mary Crawford is, but the Bertrams are too taken with both of them to pay her any attention.
- Character Development: Fanny starts to stand up for herself and take the initiative (such as when she helps her sister Susan with her problem with Betsy).
- Childhood Friend Romance: With Edmund.
- Cinderella Circumstances: She's a poor, virtuous girl who's made the servant of two aunts who either don't pay attention to her welfare or try to actively undermine it. (Although Fanny's not scrubbing floors, she's given little time to herself and her strength is regularly overtaxed, once nearly to heat exhaustion.)
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Henry Crawford very nearly succeeds in the task.
- Emotionless Girl
- Extreme Doormat: She doesn't resent that her wishes and needs are always neglected because she has no concept that they might ever not be.
- Foil: To Mary.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Towards Mary Crawford.
- Hidden Depths: She's able to see the Crawfords' true character and, in fact, has formed a contrary opinion of them.
- I Didn't Mean to Turn You On: To Henry Crawford.
- Ill Girl: Although she doesn't have a specified illness, her constitution is frail in general and she has little endurance.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: She's pained by Edmund's love for Mary not as much because she is in love with him (though that is a consideration), but because Mary and Edmund are so ill-matched.
- I Just Want to Be Loved/I Just Want to Be Special: Fanny's main goal throughout the book "to be important" or "to be of consequence."
- I Just Want to Have Friends: Fanny suffers the typical "crippling insecurities" and "low-self esteem" of victims of child abuse.
- Kissing Cousins: With Edmund.
- Love Dodecahedron
- Marry for Love: Fanny is the only young woman in the novel who believes in this, in typical Austen heroine tradition.
- Naļve Newcomer: Fanny in Chapter 2.
- Not So Stoic: Her outbursts surprise people all the more for being so few and far between.
- Only Sane Man: Fanny after Edmund falls victim to Love Makes You Crazy.
- Princess for a Day: At the ball that Sir Thomas holds for her coming-out (although she doesn't realize that's what it's for). For the first time Fanny is dolled up as well as her cousins and the focus of approval.
- The Quiet One
- Real Women Never Wear Dresses
- Rejection Affection: When Fanny Price refuses Henry Crawford's marriage proposal, he and her uncle both assume her rejection is not serious and just a sign of her female modesty. He continues pursuing her against her wishes, but with the full support of her family.
- Sheep in Sheep's Clothing: When she rejects Henry's proposal, everyone thinks she's being self-centered and petulant when she has very genuine objections to the match.
- She's All Grown Up: A parental rather than romantic version; on his return from Antigua, Sir Thomas is impressed with the beauty and character of his niece and doesn't hesitate to talk about it.
- Shrinking Violet: As a result of her treatment, she's extremely hesitant to offer her opinion and hates being the focus of attention.
- The Stoic
- The Unfavorite: Mrs. Norris is determined that Fanny knows her place.
- Victorious Childhood Friend: To Edmund.
- You Go Girl
The second son of the Bertram family, Edmund is the responsible one between himself and his older brother Tom. He hopes to become a clergyman even though the profession would lessen his chances with Mary Crawford, who he hopes to marry. Edmund is close with Fanny, but oblivious to her feelings for him.
- Betty and Veronica: Betty to Tom and Henry's Veronica.
- Birds of a Feather: With Fanny.
- Foil: To both Tom and Henry in different ways.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: With Tom. Edmund is the responsible one.
- Humble Hero: He seems to be this at first, and while he is trying to have humble goals and to think of everyone's well-being, he ends up being a bit too sure of his own superiority and righteousness, and being brought down for it.
- The Idealist: When Fanny eventually spells out why she dislikes the Crawfords, Edmund dismisses their faults as minor character defects that can be improved by better society.
- Innocently Insensitive: He has no idea that Fanny is in love with him (and how badly she thinks of the Crawfords) while he chatters away about how wonderful Mary is. He also encourages Fanny to marry Henry, not knowing how much she loathes him.
- Like Brother and Sister: This is how he sees his relationship with Fanny until the very end of the novel.
- Living Emotional Crutch: Without Edmund's kindness, Fanny would be in an even worse emotional state than she is already.
- The Matchmaker: He tries to help Henry's romance with Fanny along.
- Morality Chain
- Oblivious to Love: He has no idea Fanny loves him and thinks of her as a sister.
- Only Sane Man: He's the most responsible and unselfish of the Bertram children
- Opposites Attract: He falls in love with Mary Crawford, who couldn't be more different from him. Subverted, eventually, when he realizes just how different they are in morals.
- Preacher Man: He wants to become a clergyman—a common occupation for a second son, but he's sincere about wanting to be a good pastor.
- Pygmalion Plot
- Shipper on Deck: He ships Fanny/Henry and doesn't understand why Fanny refuses Henry's proposal.
- Unwitting Pawn
Mary comes to Mansfield Park with her brother, Henry, to stay at the parsonage with her half-sister Mrs. Grant. Ambitious, mischievous, and worldly, she immediately sets her sights on marrying Tom Bertram. But she soon finds that she prefers Edmund even though he is the younger of the brothers and will not inherit the estate.
- Accomplice by Inaction: Part of the reason why Edmund (and many readers) never understand how flawed she starts out and why Fanny at first despises her is that she doesn't actually do anything nefarious. She just sits back and lets others do whatever they want, seemingly uncaring as long as it doesn't affect her own comfort.
- Betty and Veronica: Veronica to Fanny's Betty.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: A strange example, as she seems conscious of it and willing to change. This is actually just a flirt tactic. She's ready to make efforts which will be mutually beneficial by toning down her pettiness, but she's not even begin to comprehend what others reproach her.
- City Mouse: She much prefers city to country and was worried that the parsonage would be too much a step down, though she likes it well enough when she arrives.
- Deadpan Snarker: She's very glib and can find a witty comment for every situation. Whether or not it's appropriate is another matter.
- Elegant Classical Musician: She plays the harp and is aware that it is enchanting to some people.
- Family Values Villain: She seems to be this when she claims to be utterly horrified at the thought of what Henry and Maria did. Because it will utterly ruin their reputation in society, and make her life much more difficult.
- Fish out of Water
- Foil: To Fanny. Sociable and lively, but also selfish and immoral.
- Gold Digger: She initially sets her sights on Tom because he is the older son and will inherit more. But then she falls in love with Edmund, the younger son who will not get nearly as much. But she does hope that Tom will die so that Edmund can inherit the estate.
- Harp of Femininity
- The Heart: She seems to be this for Mansfield Park's youth, encouraging everyone (mostly her brother) to make compromises with others and trying to promote peace and friendly behavior. Her rather comfortable For Happiness morality turns this concept into being an enabler for hedonists, abusive guardians, manipulative mercenary friends and a few other things...
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's an utter bitch, but does do some genuinely nice things on occasion.
- Obliviously Evil: She just doesn't see that her behavior and views are in any way wrong.
- Opposites Attract: With Edmund. Even though he is not at all what she thinks she wants, she can't help but be attracted to him.
- Pet the Dog: She does genuinely like Fanny and rescues her from a round of Mrs. Norris' verbal abuse when Fanny objects to participating in the play, seeing that Fanny is a Shrinking Violet. But there's an emphasis on pet; while she genuinely likes Fanny, she cultivates a friendship mainly to alleviate boredom when the Miss Bertrams have gone.
- Rich Bitch
- The Rival: To Fanny, though she doesn't know it.
- Shipper on Deck: She ships Fanny/Henry.
- Spirited Young Lady
- Sympathy for the Devil: She tries to half-seriously invoke the trope during her first real conversation with Fanny. It kind of works.
Henry comes to stay at Mansfield Parks parsonage with with his sister, Mary. Though he has no intention of marrying either of them, he immediately begins a flirtation with both of the Bertram sisters, Maria and Julia, despite Maria's engagement. They both fall in love with him, but he finds that he prefers Fanny because she's the first woman he's ever met who proves immutable to his charms.
- A Lady on Each Arm: With Maria and Julia.
- Becoming the Mask: He starts flirting with Fanny because he can't stand a woman not having an opinion of him, but he soon falls genuinely in love.
- Betty and Veronica: Veronica to Edmund's Betty.
- The Casanova: His main pastime is flirting without any thought to marriage.
- The Charmer: While he is short and plain, his charming personality wins him the attention of his romantic conquests.
- Chick Magnet: Most women who meet him enjoy his attentions.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Entitled to Have You: He gets his uncle to promote William Price so that Fanny will feel grateful and indebted.
- Fish out of Water
- Hopeless Suitor: Fanny is extremely determined not to accept him for most of the book.
- I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Towards Fanny. At first it's so he can gratify his ego and be assured he can make any woman love him, but soon he's trying to figure out how he can marry her.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's not evil and is capable of doing good things for others. He just also enjoys screwing with people and can't help giving in to temptation.
- Opposites Attract: He falls in love with Fanny who is his exact opposite.
- Prince Charming Wannabe: He really tries to make himself worthy of Fanny, but on discovering that Maria doesn't seem to like him anymore, he starts flirting with her to the point of an affair.
- The Rival: To Mr. Rushworth, though he initially has no intention of posing a true threat.
- The Trickster: His main motivation in the novel is trolling those around him: whether it's flirting with both of the Bertram sisters at once to cause trouble, or pursuing Fanny just to break her heart (before falling for her anyway).
- Wrong Genre Savvy: He thinks he's the Reformed Rake and Ladykiller in Love with a girl who's Playing Hard to Get in a typical unrealistic Regency romance novel where Love Redeems.
The older of the Bertram sisters, Maria becomes engaged to marry her neighbor Mr. Rushworth. But after Henry Crawford comes to Mansfield Park, she and her younger sister soon become enamored with him.
The young of the Bertram sisters, Julia hopes to become engaged to Henry Crawford, but finds that she must vie for his affections with her sister and then Fanny Price.
The oldest of the Bertram siblings, he is irresponsible and reckless. He serves as a foil to Edmund.
- Betty and Veronica: Veronica to Edmund's Betty.
- Character Development: After his illness and Maria's disgrace, Tom realizes how destructive his behavior is and shapes up.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: With Edmund. Tom's the foolish one.
- The Gambling Addict: So much so that his debts force Edmund to put off taking the parsonage so that Sir Thomas can sell the living to someone else.
- The Hedonist: His main activity is enjoying himself however he can and hanging out with a gang of equally-minded young men.
- Ill Boy: Takes ill with a fever late in the book.
One of Fanny's aunts, Mrs. Norris arranged for Fanny to come to stay at Mansfield Park but treats her badly in order to make sure she knows her place. She's also an inveterate meddler who always involves herself in whatever's going on.
- Evil Stepmother: Although she's an aunt, she fits this trope. She forbids Fanny from having a fire lit in her room even in winter, tries to prevent Edmund from replacing Fanny's horse (which she rides for health reasons), and belittles her at every opportunity, all in the name of ensuring that Fanny knows her place and is properly grateful for it.
- Laser-Guided Karma: She and Maria end up living together—the narrator says that each is the other's penance.
- Parental Favoritism: Not only does she knock down Fanny in favor of the Miss Bertrams, Mrs. Norris also puts Maria on a pedestal over Julia.
- Parental Substitute: For the Bertram daughters with very bad results. Their mother is too lazy to bother.
- Pick on Someone Your Own Size: Even though fostering Fanny was her idea, she goes out of her way to demonize Fanny and blame her for everything that goes wrong. This includes Maria and Henry's affair.
- Never My Fault: She's the only one in the family who disavows herself of any blame in Maria's disgrace. Instead, she blames Fanny.
- The Scrooge: Quite miserly. And every time she visits someone else's house, she always makes sure she's gifted something (e.g. cloth or cheese)—at the Park she just takes it.
- Shipper on Deck: She very much approves of the relationship between Maria and Mr. Rushworth, and badly wants Julia to marry Henry Crawford.
Sir Thomas Bertram
Fanny's uncle by marriage, Sir Thomas is the wealthy owner of Mansfield Park. He is a strict authority figure for his children and his absence for a portion of the story allows them to behave improperly.
- Happily Married: To Lady Bertram.
- Genre Savvy: At the beginning he doesn't want to adopt Fanny for fear of Kissing Cousins. He was right.
- It's All My Fault: Realizes that he was very incorrect in trusting Mrs. Norris with his children at all and in placing wealth over love when it came to marriages for his children.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his sternness, he really does love his children and his wife, and he tries to be kind to Fanny when he returns from Antigua.
- Parents as People: He tries to correct Mrs. Norris' overindulgence by being stern. This only makes his kids resent him and behave more wildly when he's not around. He also gets very angry at Fanny for refusing Henry Crawford.
- Put on a Bus: While he's in America, until The Bus Came Back.
- Shipper on Deck: He wants Fanny to marry Henry Crawford.
Another of Fanny's aunts and the wife of Sir Thomas, Lady Bertram is a lazy hypochondriac. She values and depends on Fanny a great deal, but does not mistreat her the way Mrs. Norris does.