Sir Charles Grandison
Sir Charles Grandison, an English baronet and the hero of a novel whose author, after writing two novels concerned with men who are rakes, was trying to present a picture of a truly virtuous character. The honorable Sir Charles rescues Harriet Byron from the clutches of Sir Hargrave Pollexfen and takes her to his country house as his sister. Although his family and friends favor his marriage to Harriet, he feels honor bound to Lady Clementina della Porretta, who has a claim on his affection. When Lady Clementina finally refuses him, he feels free to ask for Harriet’s hand.
Harriet Byron, a virtuous young woman of modest expectations. On a visit to London, she is pursued by and refuses the attentions of Sir Hargrave Pollexfen. The enraged suitor attempts to abduct her and force a marriage. She is rescued by Sir Charles Grandison and taken to his home, where she falls in love with him. Realizing that Sir Charles regards her as a sister, she tries to subdue and hide her affection for him until he becomes free to declare his love for her and to win her hand.
Sir Hargrave Pollexfen
Sir Hargrave Pollexfen, Harriet Byron’s libertine suitor, from whom she is rescued by Sir Charles Grandison. After Sir Charles rescues him from the enraged family of a woman he tried to seduce in France, Sir Hargrave begins to realize the evil of his ways. He reforms, and upon his death he leaves his fortune to Sir Charles and Harriet Byron.
Lady Clementina della Porretta
Lady Clementina della Porretta, an Italian beauty who is so in love with Sir Charles Grandison that his departure from Italy robs her of her reason, thus putting Sir Charles under an obligation that leaves him bound to her until a cure is effected and she finally refuses to marry him.
Charlotte Grandison and
Lady L., Sir Charles Grandison’s sisters, on whom he bestows the benefits their late father was reluctant to give.
Mrs. Oldham, the paramour of Sir Charles Grandison’s late father.
Lady Olivia, an Italian woman who is enamored of Sir Charles.
Emily Jervois, Sir Charles’s young ward.
Mr. Greville, a suitor of Harriet Byron.