Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 316
Belinda, the poetic name of Arabella Fermor, an upper-class English girl. She is a beautiful young woman and vain of her appearance. Although she is a sweet society girl who loves her spaniel and is normally quite agreeable, she flies into a horrid rage when Lord Petre snips off one of her treasured curls.
Lord Petre, a young nobleman, one of Belinda’s suitors. He admires Belinda so much that he wants one of her curls as a keepsake and snips it off at a party when she bends her head over a cup. He refuses to return the curl, and it disappears to become a star.
Ariel, Belinda’s guardian spirit. He tries to warn her that something dreadful may happen and sets a guard of sylphs to protect his charge, but he is unsuccessful in preventing the loss of the lock of hair.
Umbriel, a spirit who takes over when Ariel leaves Belinda. He is a melancholy gnome who receives horrible noises, tears, sorrows, and griefs from the queen of bad tempers. He pours his magic substances over Belinda, magnifying her rage and sorrow.
Thalestris, Belinda’s friend, a militant girl. She fans Belinda’s rage by saying that the girl’s honor is at stake in the matter of the stolen curl. She demands that Belinda’s brother force Lord Petre to give up the lock.
Clarissa, one of Belinda’s acquaintances, who wonders openly at the vanity of women and the foolishness of men.
Sir Plume, Belinda’s brother, who considers the entire affair slightly ridiculous. Prodded by Thalestris, he demands that Lord Petre relinquish the lock, but Petre refuses.
Shock, Belinda’s beloved spaniel.
Spleen, the queen of bad tempers and the source of detestable qualities in human beings. She supplies Umbriel with magic substances.
Betty, Belinda’s maid.