Squire Brown, Tom Brown’s father, a man who believes in permitting his children to mingle with all sorts of people, as long as they are honorable.
Dr. Arnold, the fine, gentlemanly, and religious headmaster of Rugby. He is gentle but firm with his charges and understands them thoroughly.
Tom Brown, a good boy who finds himself in a great deal of mischief at Rugby after he gets in with a group of ruffians. Because he is essentially good, he responds to the example of a younger boy who becomes his roommate. Before he finishes his work at Rugby to go to Oxford, Tom becomes a great leader in the school and changes the actions and attitudes of the boys for the better.
George Arthur, a younger boy at Rugby who, by his moral courage and religious fervor, reforms Tom Brown and Harry East from wild mischief-makers into school leaders. George is the true leader, working through Tom’s influence over the other boys.
Harry East, a wild young lad who, under the influence of Tom, George, and Dr. Arnold, becomes a good young man, as he really wants to be. He finds great help in his religion.
Flashman, a bully at Rugby whose power over the younger boys is broken by the stalwart defense of Tom and Harry. Flashman is expelled from Rugby for drunkenness.