Petra, known as the fisher maiden. She is the illegitimate child of Pedro Ohlsen and Gunlaug. As a child, she is brought back to her home village by her mother. When she grows up, she acquires three suitors who fight over her. She leaves the village for Bergen because she is attracted to the stage. She is later forgiven by Hans Ödegaard, who has felt that she ruined his life when he was her suitor.
Hans Ödegaard, the village pastor’s son. He teaches Petra to read and falls in love with her. To his father’s sorrow, he is indifferent to a career as a clergyman. Though he feels his life is ruined by Petra’s having other suitors, he gets over his despair and marries a girl named Signe, daughter of a clergyman.
Pedro Ohlsen, a dreamer and a flute player. He has an affair with Gunlaug that results in Petra’s birth. His father and grandfather leave him a fortune, which he in his turn wills to Petra upon his death.
Gunlaug, an audacious and bewitching woman, the mother of Petra. She helps her daughter escape from the village after the village is aroused by the girl’s having three suitors.
Gunnar, a poor sailor. He is one of Petra’s three suitors.
Yngve Vold, a rich shipowner, one of Petra’s three suitors. When he announces that he plans to marry Petra, he is beaten by both Gunnar and Hans.
Signe, a friend of Petra. She loves Hans and plans to marry him. She is a suitable wife because she is a pastor’s daughter of unimpeachable reputation.