Study Guide

Persuasion

by Jane Austen

Persuasion Characters

Characters Discussed (Great Characters in Literature)

Anne Elliot

Anne Elliot, the heroine, second daughter of Sir Walter Elliot, and the victim of persuasion. Although pretty and attractive, she has always been ignored by her family. When quite young, she had been wooed by Frederick Wentworth, then a junior officer in the Royal Navy; but because of her father’s disapproval and the advice of her mother’s friend, Lady Russell, she had given him up in spite of her love. At the age of twenty-six, she meets him again; his brother-in-law and sister have leased the Elliot property. Wentworth, now a captain and rich through prize money, seems to have forgotten her, although she still loves him. He is apparently in love with Louisa Musgrove. Having joined her family at Bath, Anne receives the attentions of her cousin, William Elliot, whose charm makes some impression upon her. Through an old school friend, Mrs. Smith, she learns of William’s cold, calculating, and selfish character. Although happy to be enlightened, she is still distressed by Wentworth’s indifference. To her joy, he finally realizes that he is not in love with Louisa and proposes to Anne. Since William is now wealthy and a captain, Sir Walter can no longer oppose the match, and the story ends happily.

Sir Walter Elliot

Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch Hall, Anne’s father. Inordinately vain of his ancestry and his good looks, he is a foolish man who lives beyond his income until he is forced to lease Kellynch and live at Bath. He neglects Anne in favor of his oldest daughter, whom he wishes to marry his heir, William Elliot. He is almost snared by Elizabeth’s scheming friend, Mrs. Clay, but is saved by William.

Elizabeth Elliot

Elizabeth Elliot, the oldest daughter of Sir Walter. She is handsome but cold and selfish. Unable to make a brilliant match, she remains unmarried.

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(The entire section is 767 words.)

Persuasion Character Analysis

Anne Elliot

Anne Elliot, Sir Elliot's middle daughter, possesses an elegant mind and sweet character recognized by all but her father and sister, who...

(The entire section is 393 words.)

William Elliot

William Elliot, Esq., Anne's cousin and the heir presumptive to the Elliot inheritance, had a falling out with the family after his...

(The entire section is 338 words.)

Other Characters

Captain Benwick
Benwick, "an excellent young man," had been engaged to Captain Harville's sister. Anne meets him when she and...

(The entire section is 1511 words.)