Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Walter Hartright

Walter Hartright, the primary narrator. Engaged as an art instructor to Laura Fairlie, he endears himself to his student, who is betrothed to an older man of rank. Laura decides to complete her wedding plans, and Hartright leaves to go to Central America. When he returns, he learns of Laura’s unhappy marriage. Hartright then gathers facts to incriminate the conspirators who have plotted to take Laura’s money. He marries Laura, who is now penniless, during the investigation.

Laura Fairlie

Laura Fairlie, who becomes Lady Glyde. In her husband’s conspiracy to secure her fortune, Laura is concealed for a time in her room. Meanwhile, the woman in white is held incommunicado, dies, and is buried as Laura, Lady Glyde. Laura, committed by the conspirators to the asylum from which the woman in white has escaped, is abducted and hidden until Hartright completes his investigation.

Marian Halcombe

Marian Halcombe, Laura’s half sister, who works with Hartright as a protector of the frail Laura. Strong and courageous, she combats Laura’s adversaries during Hartright’s absence. Although she is in love with Hartright, Marian, absorbed in feminism, is willing to remain unmarried and to live with the Hartrights.

Sir Percival Glyde

Sir Percival Glyde, Laura’s husband, who resorts to conspiracy, involving his wife’s incarceration, to get money to pay his debts. Knowing of Hartright’s investigation of his parentage, Sir Percival sets fire to the vestry to destroy church records that would establish his illegitimacy; he dies in...

(The entire section is 675 words.)