Julie d’Étange (zhew-LEE day-TAHNZH), an aristocratic French girl who falls in love with her tutor, Saint-Preux, and fears she may fall victim to her love, as she does. When her lover is dismissed shortly before her marriage to another man, she almost dies of grief. She and her lover consider their love no sin. Finally, Julie has to marry M. de Wolmar and has two children by him, though she never forgets Saint-Preux. When she is dying, she asks that he become her children’s tutor and marry her cousin Claire.
M. Saint-Preux (sah[n]-PREW), a young Swiss of unusual talents and sensibility. He becomes tutor to Julie and her cousin Claire. He and Julie fall in love, but they are not permitted to marry. Only the good influence of his friend, Lord Bomston, keeps the emotional Saint-Preux from committing murder or suicide when Julie has to marry M. de Wolmar.
Claire, Julie’s cousin and companion. She, too, loves Saint-Preux and expresses a desire to marry him, after she has become a widow.
Lord Edward Bomston
Lord Edward Bomston, an English lord who becomes Saint-Preux’s good friend. Before he knows of the affair between Julie and Saint-Preux, he courts Julie. Later, he is kind enough to offer to take the lovers as his pensioners if they elope and move to England. He also tries on their behalf to persuade Baron d’Étange to permit Julie and Saint-Preux to marry.
Baron d’Étange, Julie’s father. He wants his daughter to marry his friend, M. de Wolmar. He is so proud of his class and lineage that he will not hear of a marriage between Julie and Saint-Preux.
Mme d’Étange, Julie’s mother. She might have permitted Julie’s marriage to Saint-Preux, but she dies before she can help the lovers.
M. de Wolmar
M. de Wolmar (deh vohl-MAHR), whom Julie marries.