!!Anne Elliot
->"''All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one; you need not covet it) is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone.''"
The novel's protagonist. Eight years ago, Lady Russell persuaded her not to accept Lieutenant Wentworth's proposal of marriage. Since then she's been stuck in the house with her self-centered, foolish father and sister, leaving her unlovely and spiritless when Wentworth returns a captain.

* IAmNotPretty: She lost the beauty of youth when her relationship with Wentworth broke.
* IRegretNothing: [[spoiler:She eventually decides that in spite of the pain it caused her and Wentworth, she was right to bow to others' opinions by not marrying him when they were young]].
* IWasQuiteALooker: She was very pretty when she was younger -- a teenager and in her early twenties. Her loss of love cost her her bloom and she's considered rather plain, but elegant. Her looks improve considerably when she gets happier.
* LoveDodecahedron: She's involved in one. Charles Musgrove loved her, but married her sister. She loves Captain Wentworth who used to love her as well but now thinks he might love Louisa or Henrietta. Captain Benwick is obviously infatuated with her and she doesn't find him too shabby either. Her cousin William wants her as well and she's tempted to return the affection.
* MissingMom: Lady Elliot died when Anne was a young teen-aged girl. She misses her mother dearly as she was the only one in her family who loved her. It's hinted they shared love for music.
* NervesOfSteel: When Louisa falls off the Cobb and is knocked unconscious, Wentworth, Benwick, Charles, Henrietta and Mary all freak out, but Anne immediately takes charge, brings out the smelling salts, calls for a surgeon and tells Benwick to go and fetch one, because he'll know where they are. [[spoiler: Wentworth is seriously impressed with Anne's coolness in a crisis and when she overhears him saying how "capable" she is, it's one of the first glimmers of hope that she gets.]]
* NewOldFlame: To Captain Wentworth. They used to be engaged and the chemistry is still there, despite the fact that Captain Wentworth chooses to ignore her at first.
* OldMaid: She's twenty-seven and not married yet. That was a dangerous age, when a woman was close to being considered unfit to marry.
* TheOneThatGotAway: Till Captain shows up again, Anne suffers from this trope a lot. She has done so for eight years. She's never met Captain Wentworth's equal and refused Charles Musgrove's offer. Justified by the fact that she never got beyond her social circle in the country.
* OnlySaneMan: In the Elliot family; she is far more responsible and clear-headed than her father or sister.
* ParentalMarriageVeto: Rather, ParentalSubstitute Marriage Veto.
* ProperLady: She's very caring and a sweet lady.
* TheQuietOne: She's not very lively or spirited. However, she has an elegant mind and when she speaks, it's sensible and nice.
* TheStoic: She thinks she has to appear strong to her friends and acquaintances, but she often suffers serious emotional turmoil inside.
* TheUnfavorite: To her father, she is only Anne, unimportant second daughter who is not beautiful enough or vain enough, who will never marry, or never marry a suitable man.
* WhiteSheep: She, along with her late mother, were the only exemplary members of the Elliot Family.

!!Sir Walter Elliot
Anne's vain, snobbish father. His determination to live in the style a baronet requires runs up so much debt that he's forced to rent out his estate to restore the family finances.

* BlueBlood: His favorite book is The Baronetcy, and he'll spend hours pouring over his pedigree.
* ConspicuousConsumption: He thinks that his rank confers an obligation to live as stylishly as he can.
* TheDandy: Sir Walter is so vain that his chamber is covered in mirrors (which the Admiral promptly has moved) and he evaluates people by their looks once he's done judging their birth.
* ImStandingRightHere: Rails about Anne visiting Mrs. Smith, because why should she care about a poor widow with no connections, while Mrs. Clay is sitting right there.
* MsRedInk: His wife kept the finances in check; after her death, Sir Walter rapidly outstripped his income.
* ParentsAsPeople: He's a twit and neglects Anne abominably, but the reason he didn't remarry was for his daughters' sake.
* ParentalFavoritism: Favors Elizabeth and Mary over Anne.
* UpperClassTwit: He has a great many disparaging remarks to make about the Navy, tradesmen, and anyone else below his own rank. But he's so senseless, he can't comprehend that his spending habits are the reason for his embarrassment.

!!Elizabeth Elliot
The eldest Elliot daughter. She's more or less a female version of her father: vain, self-centered, and obsessed with status.

* OddFriendship: In spite of her snobbery, she forms a close friendship with Mrs. Clay, whose would be considered a "low connection" because she's the daughter of their solicitor and there's no indication her late husband was of a higher station.
* OldMaid: She's around thirty and unmarried, and women who weren't at that age were quite unlikely ever to do so.
* RichBitch: It's noted that in spite of her age, she could still attract a husband if it wasn't for her insufferable personality.
* UpperClassTwit: She's just as senseless as Sir Walter when it comes to matters of money.

!!Lady Russell
Anne's closest friend and mentor. Lady Russell persuaded Anne to reject Wentworth out of prudence, a decision that left a lot of heartbreak.

* MamaBear: Of the genteel lady variety. She only wants the best for Anne and gets very angry when she feels Anne is being slighted by the other Elliots (which is quite often).
* ParentalMarriageVeto: Though Sir Walter and Elizabeth also disapproved, Lady Russell's opinion was the one that got Anne to break the engagement. Her logic was that for all his optimism, Lieutenant Wentworth was just a poor lieutenant whose ''survival'' through the war was not at all guaranteed, never mind his belief that he'd soon get rich through prize money, and she didn't want Anne to suffer either lifelong bereavement or poverty.
* ParentalSubstitute: She steps in as Anne's mother figure after Lady Elliot's death, and she's the only one who ever considers Anne's happiness and needs.
* ParentsAsPeople: While far more sensible than the other Elliots, she still favors blue blood, and her counsel caused quite a bit of heartbreak.

!!Mary Musgrove
The youngest Elliot sister. While she isn't quite as bad as Elizabeth, she's still self-centered and irritable.

* {{Hypocrite}}: She insinuates that the Harvilles must be bad parents to be able to leave their children in others' care (specifically, Mary's and Charles') for a few months. In the ''same letter'', she asks for an invite to Bath and says that she can easily bear a few months away from her own children.
* ItsAllAboutMe: She whines and complains any time she isn't paid attention to. When Louisa is injured, Mary's reaction to Anne being designated nurse is to be offended and insist that ''she'' do it, even though she's in no way suitable.
* PlayingSick: She has a tendency to suffer frequent nervous illnesses that confine her to her couch. Curiously, it always clears up when someone begins paying attention to her.
* SelfServingMemory: Edits her recollection so that her being a ShipperOnDeck for Louisa and Wentworth becomes never thinking it was a serious attachment.
* UpperClassTwit: Always makes a fuss over being given right of place over her mother-in-law, because after all, she is an ''Elliot''. She also derides her husband's family connections and doesn't realize that the people around her are not impressed by her snubs.

!! Captain Frederick Wentworth
Anne's former fiance. He comes back into her life when his sister and brother-in-law rent Kellynch Estate. He's still bitter about their broken engagement and immediately begins courting the Musgrove sisters.

* TheCaptain: From what we know about his treatment of hapless Dick Musgrove, he's a bit of AFatherToHisMen. He also speaks with great affection of the ships he's commanded.
* TheFirstCutIsTheDeepest: Oddly this doesn't complicate a relationship with a ''new'' love interest, but with Anne, the first cut herself. He pays a lot of attention to the Musgrove sisters and makes a big deal about how he's only interested in a woman who knows her own mind (i.e. Not Like Anne), but he still loves her beneath the resentment.
* GreenEyedEpiphany: When he sees Mr. Elliot courting Anne in Bath, Wentworth finds himself feeling ''very'' unhappy, which makes him realize he still loves her.
* HeroicBSOD: When Louisa falls and hits her head badly, Wentworth is just as panicked as the Musgroves.
* ItsAllMyFault: Blames himself for encouraging Louisa's antics and her subsequent fall. He also feels very guilty for acting like he loved her when he was still resentful.
* LoveLetter: His "half agony, half hope" declaration is in a letter that he writes while she's standing ''five feet away.''
* OfficerAndAGentleman: In spite of his ill-feeling towards Anne, he's still far more conscientious of her than her family, pulling her misbehaving nephew off her back and making sure she has a ride home from an overlong walk.
* ThePollyanna: When he was courting Anne, he had every expectation of speedily winning his fortune at sea in spite of the luck-based nature of survival, never mind prize money. As it turns out, things went about as he predicted, but at the time his confidence seemed naive to Lady Russell.
* TheResenter: Almost every conversation he has in the first part of the novel that isn't about his career is about how he thinks firmness of decision is such an important trait in a woman.
* SelfMadeMan: He won about £25,000 in prize money during the war against Napoleon. In today's money, that would make him a millionaire.

!!Admiral and Mrs. Croft
The childless couple that rents out Kellynch. Admiral Croft is friendly and genuine; his wife is the same but with a better head for business. She's also Wentworth's sister, which is how he gets reintroduced to Anne.

* FriendToAllChildren: The Admiral takes to the Musgroves' undisciplined boys, especially in the 1995 film.
* HappilyMarried: In stark contrast to the other married couples of the book, they get on very well all the time.
* LawOfInverseFertility: It's implied that they would have liked children, but were unable to have any. Sir Walter's solicitor thinks this is a point in their favor, however, saying that there's no better preserver of furniture than a childless married woman.
* NiceGuy: Admiral Croft is happy to befriend anyone who's worthy of it. Unlike some Austen characters, who treat their friends interchangeably, the Admiral shows genuine care and interest for everyone in his social circle. Anne soon takes to him.
* ShipperOnDeck: For Captain Wentworth and whichever of the Musgrove sisters he would decide to marry.
* WomenAreWiser: Mrs. Croft is noted as having more business sense than her husband.

!!Louisa Musgrove
Mary's sister-in-law. Louisa is confident and lively and becomes quite attached to Wentworth, who declares himself wanting to marry a confident and lively woman.

* HeroicBSOD: After her near death from a fall, she's reported to have become very skittish and severe.
* TheGloriousWarOfSisterlyRivalry: Competes with her less-confident sister Henrietta for Wentworth's attention, though Louisa soon takes the lead.
* SecondLove: Not for Wentworth, but ''Benwick.''
* SpiritedYoungLady: Unlike other Austen ladies of this mold, though, Louisa sometimes has more spirit than sense.

!!Captain Benwick
A close friend of Wentworth and the Crofts. Benwick lost his fiancee a year ago and is very romantic, in the literary sense. He befriends Anne when the Crofts' society throws them together.

* BirdsOfAFeather: Set up to be this with Anne, both being rather melancholy people with lost loves and a fondness for poetry.
* FlorenceNightingaleEffect: He and Louisa fell in love while he helps her recover and reads poetry.
* LastMinuteHookup: He winds up marrying Louisa Musgrove, as her personality became rather closer to his own in consequence of her accident.
* TheMourningAfter: He's still deeply in mourning for his intended, Phoebe Harville, and is ready to stay that way for the rest of his life. Until he meets Anne and Louisa.
* HeartbrokenBadass: According to Wentworth, Benwick's gloomy and poetic surface hides the fact that he's a fierce foe in battle. (If the story followed the point of view of the war, his poetic soul would probably be HiddenDepths.)
* SecondLove: He finds one in Louisa, but somewhat unusually his social circle is rather critical about it amongst themselves. Harville is especially displeased that his beloved sister has been so soon forgotten.

!! William Elliot
A cousin of the family and Sir Walter's heir. He spurned Elizabeth's advances years ago to marry a rich but lowborn woman. Now a widower, he returns full of apology to repair the relationship and begins courting Anne.

* BitchInSheepsClothing: Everything about his manner is as nice and personable as anyone could want. Anne is the only one to ask why he's so suddenly willing to be on good terms with the family again after such a long period of disagreement.
* GoldDigger: He married his late wife entirely for money, and they were rather unhappy together. His interest in Anne has the same motive--he wants to secure his claim to Kellynch through her.
* KissingCousins: He flirts with Anne by saying he hopes her name never changes. Normal for the time.
* ManipulativeBastard: His calculated pleasingness of manners. He played his old friend Mr. Smith entirely, as close as a brother, with no intentions of ever returning the favor, and flatters and flirts with Anne without real depth of feeling.
* NobilityMarriesMoney: Rather than marry Elizabeth, Mr. Elliot chose to marry the daughter of a wealthy butcher who passed away after an AwfulWeddedLife. He only takes an interest in his cousins again because he wants the land and title.
* RelationshipSabotage: He cozies up to the Elliots in Bath so that he can separate Sir Walter from Mrs. Clay--in which he succeeds, but Austen hints that Mrs. Clay may succeed in flattering ''him'' into marriage instead.
* UngratefulBastard: When he was poor, his friends the Smiths supported him and kept him in good society. When they fell into poverty (because he encouraged them to keep spending past their means) and Mr. Smith died, he couldn't give Mrs. Smith the time of day.