The Story of Gösta Berling Characters

Selma Lagerlof

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Gösta Berling

Gösta Berling, a tall, slender, handsome, and poetic but irresponsible priest unfrocked after an investigation of his brandy drinking. He becomes successively a beggar, one of Margareta’s Cavalier pensioners, a good Samaritan to Anna, the fiancé of Marianne, the husband of Elizabeth, and at last a good man.

Countess Elizabeth Dohna

Countess Elizabeth Dohna, a gay, lovely woman married to a stupid husband from whom she escapes to lead a pleasant life. Following the annulment of her marriage, she bears a child and asks Gösta to marry her to give the child a father. They marry, but the child dies a few days later.

Margareta Celsing Samzelius

Margareta Celsing Samzelius, a once beautiful woman, now the major’s aging, influential wife and formerly Altringer’s mistress. She is an innocent woman both strengthened and coarsened by her unhappy experiences. Disowned by the major after her admission of adultery and deserted by the Cavaliers she has helped, she becomes a beggar but returns to her estate after her husband’s death. She dies shortly afterward.

Marianne Sinclair

Marianne Sinclair, a beautiful, witty, and learned young woman in love with Gösta. Scarred by smallpox and rejected by Gösta, she becomes a recluse in her father’s home.

Captain Christian Bergh

Captain Christian Bergh, Gösta’s crony...

(The entire section is 476 words.)