Daniel Deronda, the ward of Sir Hugo Mallinger and a noble, well-educated gentleman. At Cambridge University, he helps a poor student, Hans Meyrick, to pass a scholarship examination. He rescues a young Jewish woman, Mirah Lapidoth, from drowning in the Thames, helps to start her on a singing career, and later marries her. He spends a great deal of time wondering about his parentage and searching for some knowledge of his past in the Jewish East End of London. At the end of the novel, before his marriage, he is pleased to learn that he is Jewish.
Gwendolen Harleth, an impoverished beauty who feels that she must marry a wealthy man in order to live the elegant life she desires. After rejecting several dull suitors, she marries Henleigh Mallinger Grandcourt, a wealthy heir, despite the fact that she knows Grandcourt has deserted the mistress who has borne him four children. She marries him after her widowed mother has lost all their money in a stock failure. The marriage is unhappy because Gwendolen is secretly in love with Daniel Deronda. After Grandcourt drowns in a yachting accident, Gwendolen feels guilty because she might have done much more to save him and had previously wished him dead. She confesses as much to Daniel, who has always disapproved of her gambling, recklessness, and love of finery. Hoping to marry Daniel, she is disappointed when he tells her about Mirah. She resolves to reform and to live for others.
Mirah Lapidoth, the young Jewish woman whom Daniel saves from suicide and later marries. Because she has been abandoned, Daniel takes her to the home of some friends. She recovers, has a successful singing career, and is reunited with her brother Mordecai before marrying Daniel.
Henleigh Mallinger Grandcourt
Henleigh Mallinger Grandcourt, the nephew and heir of Sir Hugo Mallinger. He deserts his mistress after nine years and marries Gwendolen Harleth. A cold, supercilious man, he succeeds in breaking Gwendolen’s spirit. After he drowns, his will reveals that he has left his property to his illegitimate son and has provided for his mistress better than he has for Gwendolen.
Sir Hugo Mallinger
Sir Hugo Mallinger, the intelligent and benevolent owner of Diplow Hall. He has brought up Daniel Deronda and is enormously fond of him. He feels that Daniel is an English gentleman and objects when Daniel wishes to acknowledge the fact that he is Jewish; however, the two remain close friends.
Lady Mallinger, his wife, whom he did not marry until after he had adopted Daniel.
Ezra Lapidoth (Mordecai)
Ezra Lapidoth (Mordecai), Mirah’s brother, a consumptive, learned young Jew who lives with the Cohens and gives lessons to Cohen’s son. He also works in a bookshop. Abandoned by his father, he has known...
(The entire section is 1216 words.)