Could you please give me a list of the main characters in the Oliver Twist, with a brief description. (Because there are 30 characters,I can not manage all of them in my presentation, so I need...

Could you please give me a list of the main characters in the Oliver Twist, with a brief description. (Because there are 30 characters,I can not manage all of them in my presentation, so I need just the main characters)

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Truly a poignant tale, Oliver Twist is a social criticism by Charles Dickens meant to awaken the consciousness of his contemporary readers who were unaware of the dehumanizing conditions of the Poor Laws in London and the conditions of the impoverished in such cities as his beloved London, but also the likes of Manchester, Liverpool, and Birmingham. Renowned for his superb characterization, Dickens has created in this novel characters who long remain in the hearts and memories of his readers.

  • Oliver Twist

One of life's innocents, Oliver has a natural likability and charm, but also an innate integrity. He is the virtuous outcast in a corrupt society,

Oliver was badged and ticketed, and fell into his place at once—a parish child—the orphan of a workhouse—the humble, half-starved drudge—to be cuffed and buffeted through the world—despised by all, and pitied by none.

Despite his misery and exploitation as a chimney sweep and with his doleful expression a mourner at children's funerals as he made by Mr. Bumble to work at various jobs and fed little, Oliver retains a certain innocence. But, he finally escapes, only to be taken by the Artful Dodger to Fagin, whose band of boyish thieves and pickpockets. When he escapes them and lives with Mr. Brownlow, he attains some happiness, but is recaptured and returned to Fagin. But, when he is injured in a burglary, Mrs. Maylie and her daughter Rose care for Oliver. With the help of Nancy, they solve the mystery of his birth. Finally, in a heroic act of self-sacrifice, Nancy effects his safe return to his real family.

So pure of heart is Oliver that when he visits the malevolent Fagin in prison, and Fagin tries to force him to help him escape, Oliver cries, "Oh! God forgive this wretched man!"

  • Fagin

Described as 

a very old shrivelled Jew, whose villainous-looking and repulsive face was obscured by a quantity of matted red hair. . .dressed in a greasy flannel gown, with his throat bare

the despicable exploiter calls the boys "my dears," but teaches them to pick pockets and other acts of thievery. When he and Sikes are at odds, Fagin plots to use Nancy to poison Bill Sikes.

Fagin is one of literature's greatest villains. He is completely evil, manipulating innocent children and anyone else that he can. He hides his plunder, feeding the boys little but scraps. When he is finally apprehended and sentenced to death, Fagin 

...grew so terrible, at last, in all the tortures of his evil conscience, that one man could not bear to sit there, eyeing him alone; and so the two kept watch together.

  • Artful Dodger

Jack Dawkins finds Oliver on the road to London and, promising him a meal, he leads Oliver to Fagin's den of thieves. He speaks in thief's "cant" and has a certain insouciance about his life of crime.

  • Bill Sikes

A brutal criminal who has an equally brutal dog that he beats into submission, Sikes uses the small Oliver to slip inside houses and unlock them. When a robbery at the Maylie's goes wrong and Oliver is wounded, Sikes and his troop run off, leaving Oliver to the care of the Maylies. When the mean Sikes falls ill, Nancy slips off  to help Oliver because she perceives in the innocent boy what she has lost. When Fagin tells Sikes that Nancy plots against him, he beats her to death. Later, as he tries to escape an angry mob, Sikes inadvertently hangs himself.

  • Nancy

Nancy has been under the control of Fagin since she was the age of Oliver. While the Victorian sensibility of Dickens would not allow him to make it apparent that she is a prostitute, Nancy is portrayed as an accomplice to crime, at least. A victim of the abusive Sikes, Nancy decides to save Oliver and meets with the Maylies in order to effect his rescue. But when the ladies are concerned for her safety, Nancy tells the ladies,  

"When such as me, who have no certain roof but the coffin-lid, and no friend in sickness or death but the hospital nurse, set our rotten hearts on any man, and let him fill the place that parents, home, and friends filled once, or that has been a blank through all our wretched lives, who can hope to cure us?" 

Nancy understands the risk that she runs, but selflessly helps Oliver, nevertheless. Unfortunately, the evil Fagin has stirred the suspicions of Sikes, and poor Nancy dies.

  • Mr. Brownlow

Initially, he is the gentleman whose handkerchief Oliver steals when he is first put on the street with the other boys. When Oliver is caught and brought to court, Mr. Brownlow takes responsibility for Oliver and brings him home. The housekeeper notices the resemblance between Oliver and the portrait of Mr. Brownlow's daughter. While Brownlow trusts Oliver enough to allow the boy to return his books one day, his friend bets him that Oliver will not return. "I'll eat my head!" Mr. Grimwig retorts.

After Oliver is recaptured, Mr. Brownlow wonders if Mr. Grimwig were correct, but he later learns that Oliver is his daughter's child and is elated, adopting Oliver.

  • Mr. Bumble

The beadle of the town, Mr. Bumble is in charge of assigning the orphans to various jobs. He turns poor Oliver over to the funeral director who makes him a mourner. In his greed, he marries Mrs. Courney who oversees the workhouse, but she is a termagant and his life becomes miserable. 

  • Monks

A villain second only to the despicable Fagin, Monks"s purpose in life has been to avenge himself upon Oliver for cheating him out of his inheritance. But, in truth, Oliver knows nothing about any will since his mother destroyed it and then died. But Monks greedy mother filled his head with envious thoughts, so along with his epilepsy, Monk has "fits." Mr. Brownlow observes that Monk's face is as ugly as his vice and crimes, saying to him that his

"evil passions, vice, and profligacy festered till they found a vent in a hideous disease which has made your face an index even to your mind." 

Monks obtains the only clues to Oliver's birth and parentage and throws them in the river. For, Monks is the older half-brother of Oliver; in jealousy, he tries to corrupt Oliver and then obtain all the family inheritance for himself. In the end, though, Monks admits to everything so he will not have to face the police.

ashmit | Student

Oliver Twist is a famous novel written by charles Dickens. Important characters in the novels are Oliver Twist, Noah Claypole,Mr Bumble,MrsShelley,Mrs corney,Mr andMrs Sowerburry ,charlotte,Charly Bate,ArtfulDodger,Mr.Brownlow,Nancy,Rose ,Monk etc

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Oliver Twist

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