Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 915
Eleanor Bold, younger daughter of the Reverend Septimus Harding, the “Warden,” and wealthy widow of John Bold. She lives with her baby son and her sister-in-law, Mary Bold. Much of the novel revolves around Eleanor’s choice of one of her three suitors: Mr. Slope, Bertie Stanhope, and Mr. Arabin. Throughout a large portion of the novel, most of her ecclesiastical friends and relatives assume that she will choose Mr. Slope.
Dr. Proudie, the clergyman who becomes Bishop of Barchester after the death of Archdeacon Grantly’s father. Dr. Proudie is a vain but weak man, dominated by his wife and by Mr. Slope. Although all Barchester expects him to offer the wardenship of Hiram’s Hospital to Mr. Harding, Dr. Proudie allows Mr. Slope’s chicanery to gain the appointment for Mr. Quiverful.
Mrs. Proudie, the aggressive and domineering wife of the Bishop of Barchester. She attempts to control Barchester by championing evangelical and Low Church causes, awarding church patronage, and manipulating people through the offices of Mr. Slope. She antagonizes the established ecclesiastical society in Barchester.
The Reverend Obadiah Slope
The Reverend Obadiah Slope, the Bishop’s chaplain. An evangelical clergyman, Mr. Slope antagonizes most of the chapter with his initial fiery sermon at Barchester Cathedral. He first acts as Mrs. Proudie’s agent, but, after he supports the claims of Mr. Harding in an attempt to gain favor with Eleanor Bold, Mrs. Proudie scorns him. Unable to win Eleanor or the post of Dean of Barchester, he returns to London.
The Reverend Theophilus Grantly
The Reverend Theophilus Grantly, the Archdeacon of Barchester and rector of Plumstead Episcopi. He strongly supports the claims of Harding, his father-in-law, to be reinstated as warden of Hiram’s Hospital. When the nearby living of St. Ewold’s becomes vacant, he goes to Oxford to obtain the post for the Reverend Francis Arabin. He also fears that his sister-in-law, Eleanor, will marry Slope.
Susan Grantly, wife of Archdeacon Grantly and the elder daughter of Mr. Harding. She generally follows her husband’s lead, but she attempts to mitigate his anger at her sister.
The Reverend Septimus Harding
The Reverend Septimus Harding, former warden of Hiram’s Hospital. He desires his former charge but is denied it through the machinations of Mr. Slope and Mrs. Proudie, who make his appointment conditional on his assuming extra duties and administering evangelical Sunday Schools. Later, he is offered the deanship of Barchester Cathedral, but he refuses the post because of his advanced age.
The Reverend Francis Arabin
The Reverend Francis Arabin, a scholarly High Church clergyman from Oxford who is brought into the living at St. Ewold’s to strengthen forces against Bishop Proudie and Mr. Slope. He eventually becomes Dean of Barchester and marries Eleanor Bold.
Dr. Vesey Stanhope
Dr. Vesey Stanhope, holder of several livings in the Barchester area who has spent the preceding twelve years in Italy. He is summoned to Barchester by Dr. Proudie, through Slope, but has little interest in the political or ecclesiastical affairs of Barchester.
Mrs. Stanhope, his wife, interested chiefly in dress.
Charlotte Stanhope, the oldest daughter of the Stanhopes, who manages the house and the rest of the family with efficiency and intelligence. A friend of Eleanor, she urges her brother to propose to Eleanor.
La Signora Madeline Vesey Neroni
La Signora Madeline Vesey Neroni, née Stanhope, the great beauty of the Stanhope family, who has been crippled in a short, disastrous marriage to a brutal Italian. Although confined to her sofa, she attracts men easily. One of her victims is Mr. Slope, whose hypocrisy she exposes, but she is sufficiently generous to encourage Eleanor to marry Mr. Arabin.
Ethelbert “Bertie” Stanhope
Ethelbert “Bertie” Stanhope, the amiable son of the Stanhopes, who has dabbled in law, art, and numerous religions. His family wishes to settle him with Eleanor and her money, but Bertie’s proposal fails, and he is sent back to Carrara by his father.
Mr. Quiverful, the genial clergyman and father who is persuaded to accept the preferment at Hiram’s Hospital in addition to his living at Puddingdale.
Mrs. Letty Quiverful
Mrs. Letty Quiverful, his wife and the mother of fourteen children, who begs Mrs. Proudie to bestow the preferment at Hiram’s Hospital on her husband.
Miss Thorne of Ullathorne
Miss Thorne of Ullathorne, the member of an old family at St. Ewold’s, who gives a large party at which both Mr. Slope and Bertie Stanhope propose to Eleanor. Miss Thorne, however, favors Arabin and invites both Arabin and Eleanor to stay until the engagement is settled.
Wilfred Thorne, the younger brother of Miss Thorne, a bachelor and an authority on tradition and geneology.
Dr. Gwynne, Master of Lazarus College, Oxford, the man instrumental in securing the deanship for Mr. Arabin.
Olivia Proudie, the daughter of the Proudies, briefly thought to be engaged to Mr. Slope.
Mary Bold, the sister-in-law and confidante of Eleanor Bold.
Johnny Bold, the infant son of Eleanor and the late John Bold.
Griselda Grantly, the pretty daughter of Archdeacon Grantly.
Dr. Trefoil, Dean of Barchester Cathedral, who dies of apoplexy.
The Bishop of Barchester
The Bishop of Barchester, the father of Archdeacon Grantly. He dies at the very beginning of the novel.
Dr. Omicron Pi
Dr. Omicron Pi, a famous doctor from London.
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