Characters / Mansfield Park

Fanny Price

"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 Bertram parents aren't malicious, but they are emotionally neglectful.
  • Big Brother Worship: She absolutely adores her elder brother William, who dotes on her.
  • Birds of a Feather: With Edmund.
  • Book Dumb: When she first arrives at Mansfield Park, Fanny knows very little about the arts or humanities.
  • Bookworm: She's filled the manor's old schoolroom with a variety of books, from novels to nonfiction accounts of China.
  • Break the Cutie: Ages ten to eighteen see 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.)
  • Cool Big Sis: When visiting home, she becomes this to Susan.
  • Determinator: Although she'll bow to nearly any request immediately, she absolutely won't accede to anything against her morals. It's difficult, but she steadfastly refuses the Bertrams' increasingly angry demands that she participate in the play and, later, marry Henry.
  • 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.
  • Genre Refugee: Seems to be a Charlotte Brontė heroine who somehow got lost in a Jane Austen novel.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Towards Mary Crawford.
  • Happily Adopted: Zigzagged. She's not exactly happy growing up at Mansfield Park, but she grows to love the place and most of the people in it. By the end of the book, however, she's more or less genuinely become this with Sir Thomas; they've come to love one another very dearly.
  • Hidden Depths: She's able to see the Crawfords' true characters and, in fact, has formed a contrary opinion of them.
  • I Didn't Mean to Turn You On: To Henry Crawford.
  • 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.
  • Ill Girl: Although she doesn't have a specified illness, her constitution is frail in general and she has little endurance. She grows stronger as the story progresses, but relapses when she doesn't take proper care of herself.
  • 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 Known by Their Nickname: Few modern readers realize that Fanny is a nickname for Frances; Fanny is named after her mother.
  • Only Sane Man: Fanny after Edmund falls victim to Love Makes You Crazy. As an outsider, she can see all the missteps and foibles that the Bertrams are blind to in themselves and their friends.
  • 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: Her opinion is so rarely asked, she usually doesn't even bother to venture it.
  • 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.

Edmund Bertram

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 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 (or 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 support Henry's romance with Fanny.
  • 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, tries to keep his sisters in line, and is the only one to always remember that Fanny is a person rather than a convenience.
  • 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.
  • Not So Above It All: He's the most level-headed and empathetic Bertram, but he's just as charmed by the Crawfords as everyone else.
  • 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: Subverted. He's trying to be a Pygmalion to Mary by reshaping her unprincipled attitude, but that doesn't work any better than trying to reform bad boys in Austen's works.
  • Shipper on Deck: He ships Fanny/Henry and doesn't understand why Fanny refuses Henry's proposal.
  • Unwitting Pawn

Mary Crawford

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 can't comprehend why 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.
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: The denouement mentions that although Mary continued to enjoy the glittering social life of Bath and London with her sister, she remained unmarried for many years because none of the coxcombs in that set interested her after Edmund.
  • Fish out of Water: She knows nothing of country life and recounts how unreasonable the locals are for not hiring out a horse to her during the middle of harvest season.
  • Foil: To Fanny. Sociable and lively, but also selfish and immoral.
  • Freudian Excuse: Edmund keeps insisting that her character flaws are all the result of being raised by a philandering uncle and an aunt who was not at all happy about the philandering, as well as the bad influences of her high-society friends. While there is probably truth to this, that doesn't at all excuse the harm that she causes or supports.
  • 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. So she hopes that Tom will die so that Edmund can inherit the estate.
  • Harp of Femininity: Her instrument of choice, which is described as being as lovely and elegant as she is herself.
  • 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...
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Fashionable: How she regards Edmund. She can't stand the thought of marrying a clergyman, but she also can't help her feelings for him, so she hopes to get him into a different profession.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's an utter bitch, but does do some genuinely nice things on occasion. Half the time she's nicer to Fanny than either Maria or Julia.
  • Obliviously Evil: She just doesn't see that her behavior and views are in any way wrong; as far as she's concerned, it's perfectly natural to wish Tom Bertram dead so Edmund can inherit.
  • 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: Always free with her opinions and with a lively wit.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: She tries to half-seriously invoke the trope during her first real conversation with Fanny. It kind of works.

Henry Crawford

Henry comes to stay at Mansfield Park's 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.

  • Becoming the Mask: He starts flirting with Fanny because he can't stand the idea of a woman being indifferent to 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
  • Dogged Nice Guy: He's encouraged to be persistent towards Fanny, no matter how unvarnished her refusals.
  • Entitled to Have You: He gets his uncle to promote William Price so that Fanny will feel grateful and indebted. Note that his only exertion in doing so was going up to his uncle and saying "could you promote this kid for me," but he still considers it a sufficient proof of his affection to think that Fanny must accept him for it.
  • Fish out of Water: Like his sister, he much prefers city life.
  • 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 actually convince her to marry him.
  • 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.
  • A Lady on Each Arm: With Maria and Julia.
  • 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 begins flirting with her again to assuage his ego and winds up having an affair with her.
  • 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.

Maria Bertram

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.

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: She wants Crawford even after he flirts with both her and her sister, and then proposes to Fanny. So much so that she leaves Rushworth hoping that Crawford will propose to her.
  • Arranged Marriage: Not formally, but her match to Mr. Rushworth is mostly arranged by his mother and Mrs. Norris pressuring both of them into it.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Not over her actual fiancé Rushworth, no; she's competing with her sister over Henry Crawford.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: With Julia. But while Maria is the more beautiful sister, Julia is also attractive, just not as pretty.
  • Rich Bitch: She's had enough upbringing for the semblance of fine manners, but she's been so spoiled by Mrs. Norris that she's completely self-centered.
  • Spoiled Brat
  • Your Cheating Heart: She has an affair with Henry Crawford, which ends in disaster.

Julia Bertram

The younger 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.

Tom Bertram

The oldest of the Bertram siblings, he is irresponsible and reckless. He serves as a foil to Edmund.

  • 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, although he improves dramatically after his illness.
  • 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: He almost dies from a terrible fever.

Mrs. Norris

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.

  • Control Freak: She loves to manage things and habitually takes over all the petty details of whatever scheme is going. The only one who can keep her at all under control is Sir Thomas, so when he's out of the country for the better part of two years, she gets to run the whole show.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: She and Maria end up living together—the narrator says that each is the other's penance.
  • The Matchmaker: Mrs. Norris is determined to make a good marriage for Maria (considering only wealth in the matter) and takes full credit for the match with Rushworth.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Scrooge: She never spends any money if she can help it. 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.
  • Wicked 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.

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.

  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: His children rightly predict that he would never allow the play; he shuts it down immediately when he returns just before a rehearsal. (Thanks to some Values Dissonance he's shown as being correctnote , as well as the more reasonable consideration that they had rearranged his own bedroom as the backstage.)
  • Happily Married: To Lady Bertram.
  • It's All My Fault: He 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.
  • Pet the Dog: Sir Thomas reveals himself as an admirable character when he offers to break off Maria's engagement to Mr. Rushworth simply because he can see she does not love him. He also grows very fond of Fanny and treats her with more consideration than he ever did when she was a child, including overriding Mrs. Norris's order that she get no fire in her room.
  • Put on a Bus: While he's in Antigua, until The Bus Came Back.
  • Shipper on Deck: He wants Fanny to marry Henry Crawford.

Lady Bertram

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.

  • Brainless Beauty: She never seems to have an original thought in her had, relying on Sir Thomas for all of her opinions.
  • The Ditz
  • Happily Married: She and Sir Thomas do love each other, and she finds herself quite genuinely delighted and animated when Sir Thomas returns from Antigua.
  • Hypochondria: Always making a big deal out of her own health complaints.
  • Lazy Bum: She's always described as indolent. It's to the point of Parental Neglect, leaving Mrs. Norris free rein.
  • Parents as People: She's never malicious and does show some small kindnesses to Fanny; by the end of the story, it's clear that she really loves the girl. The narrative also refers to her as the aunt whom Fanny actually loves.
  • Parental Neglect: Lady Bertram sometimes seems more interested in her dog than her children. She did nothing to instill her daughters with good principles and carelessly overtaxes Fanny to run errands for her.

Mr. Rushworth

A young man who's not very clever or handsome, but who is very rich. His mother and Mrs. Norris quickly arrange a match between him and Maria Bertram, as the two most consequential young people in the neighborhood. Although the marriage looks good on paper, things go south not long after they set up house together.

  • Arranged Marriage: It wasn't even his idea, really.
  • The Bore: He's not malicious, in fact he's rather friendly and good-natured. He's just very dull, and thus can't compete with the clever flirt Henry Crawford, not where Maria is concerned.
  • The Ditz: His main topics of conversation are how he wants to fix up his house and its grounds, and even then he doesn't supply any ideas of his own—he just asks the opinion of everyone else. It's that or lamenting how many lines he has to learn in the play.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Doesn't see that Maria is falling for Henry Crawford.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: A rich, portly, stupid man who is constantly talking of renovating and improving his property? A likely pastiche of the Prince Regent, whom Austen had no good opinion of—though Rushworth isn't antagonistic like her other expies of Prinny.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: He hardly has an original thought in his head. Even Edmund thinks that "if he had not twelve thousand a year, he would be a very stupid fellow."
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: He's not especially good-looking, while Maria is very conscious of her own beauty.

Mr. Yates

One of Tom's hundred or more "intimate friends". He's brought fresh from a cancelled amateur production of Lover's Vows and introduces the idea of theatricals to Mansfield around the same time as the Crawfords arrive. This leads to a whole host of troubles.

  • It's All About Me: The previous attempt at Lover's Vows was scrapped due to a death in the family. Yates bemoans that the old woman couldn't hang on for just a few more days, then that the degree of mourning wasn't enough to warrant the play's cancellation.
  • Large Ham: His main requirement for acting is that he be given a part that allows for a lot of loud ranting. (Sir Thomas runs into him in full flow.)
  • Last Minute Hookup: He elopes with Julia. However, there are a number of clues prior to this that they're taking an interest in each other.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Maria and Crawford were already making eyes at each other, but introducing the play scheme took it Up to Eleven.

William Price

Fanny's beloved brother who was sent to be a midshipman in the Navy at around the same time Fanny was brought to Mansfield.

  • Big Brother Instinct: Whenever he's present, he does his best to look out for Fanny. Less apparent with his other, rowdier siblings, but they're less in need of it.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: He was this to Fanny before she was sent to Mansfield.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: He's the eldest of the nine Price children.
  • Plucky Middie: It's largely offscreen, but he certainly has the disposition you'd expect and regales the Bertrams with numerous tales of adventure when he visits.
  • The Pollyanna: He's disposed to approve of everyone he meets and everything he tries at Mansfield—the only fly in his ointment is not being made Lieutenant yet, but that's solved soon after.