Northanger Abbey main character Catherine Morland sitting and reading

Northanger Abbey

by Jane Austen

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Characters Discussed

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Catherine Morland

Catherine Morland, a young girl whose head is filled with Gothic romances. At Bath, she meets the Thorpe and Tilney families. Her brother James is attracted to Isabella Thorpe, and John Thorpe becomes attentive to Catherine. She, however, is more interested in Henry Tilney, a younger son, whose father invites her to his home, Northanger Abbey, under the mistaken impression that she is rich and will make a good match for Henry. Overcome by the thrill of being in a real abbey, Catherine makes several foolish blunders, even thinking that her host must have murdered his wife. The visit ends when General Tilney, learning that Catherine is not rich, asks her to leave and forbids Henry to see her. Yet Henry’s love proves strong enough for him to defy his father, and the lovers are finally married.

General Tilney

General Tilney, the owner of Northanger Abbey. Eager for money, he is polite to Catherine only because he believes her to be rich.

Captain Frederick Tilney

Captain Frederick Tilney, his older son, for whom Isabella Thorpe jilts James Morland.

Henry Tilney

Henry Tilney, the younger son, a clergyman, who marries Catherine Morland.

Eleanor Tilney

Eleanor Tilney, their sister. Her marriage to a viscount puts her father into a good enough humor to permit the marriage of Henry and Catherine.

James Morland

James Morland, Catherine’s brother. He falls in love with Isabella Thorpe but is jilted by her.

Isabella Thorpe

Isabella Thorpe, a scheming young woman whom Catherine meets at Bath. She becomes engaged to James Morland but jilts him for Captain Tilney, though without much hope of marrying the latter.

John Thorpe

John Thorpe, Isabella’s stupid brother, who tries to marry Catherine and who boasts to General Tilney of her wealth. When she refuses him, he takes revenge by telling the general that she is poorer than she really is.

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Chapter Summaries