The main characters in Twilight are Bella Swan, Edward Cullen, the rest of the Cullen family, and James.
- Bella Swan is the seventeen-year-old protagonist. She moves to Forks in order to live with her father, Charlie, in the wake of her mother's remarriage. She falls in love with Edward.
- Edward Cullen is a handsome vampire who is initially cold and hostile towards Bella. However, he eventually falls in love with her.
- The Cullen family are Edward's adoptive vampire family. They coexist with humans and do not drink human blood.
- James is the vicious leader of the vampire pack who wants to hunt Bella for sport.
Isabella /Bella Swan—the 17-year-old narrator of the novel, now living with her father.
Charlie—Bella's mother, a passionate woman who has always seemed younger than her age.
Phil—Charlie's new husband, a minor league baseball player.
Charlie Swan—Bella's father, and the police chief of Forks.
Billy Black—an old Indian friend of her father's, now in a wheelchair.
Jacob Black—Billy's youngest son, interested in Bella, but tagged by his tribe as a messenger regarding the vampires.
Eric—a friendly classmate who guides Bella on her first day.
Mr. Varne—Bella's trigonometry teacher.
Mr. Banner—Bella's biology teacher.
Mr. Mason—Bella's English teacher.
Coach Clapp—Bella's gym coach.
Ms. Cope—the school's red-haired receptionist.
Tyler Crowley—the boy who nearly crashes his van into Bella on the icy day.
Jessica Stanley—one of Bella's new friends in Forks, she has a crush on Mike.
Mike Newton—another of Bella's new classmates, Mike has a crush on Bella immediately.
Eric—another of Bella's friendly new classmates.
Angela Weber—Bella goes with Angela and Jessica to buy dresses.
Alice—one of the girls in Bella's class who becomes friends with Bella.
Lauren—a blond girl in Bella's class who becomes jealous of Edward's attention.
Edward Cullen—the male lead, an intensely beautiful and powerful vampire.
Jasper Hale—one of Edward's vampire cousins, he can calm emotions.
Rosalie Hale—another of the Cullen vampire crowd, the one most opposed to Bella.
Emmett Cullen—the most physically powerful of the vampire brothers.
Alice Cullen—Edward's short, black-haired, precognitive vampire "sister."
Carlisle Cullen—the father figure to the younger vampires, a 300 year old doctor.
Laurent—the apparent leader of the band of more predatory vampires.
Victoria—another of the band of vampire predators.
James—the real leader of the new vampire pack, and a pure killer.
Isabella / Bella Swan
Bella Swan is the viewpoint character in the novel. Though it is written from a third person point of view, Twilight is very much her story. Bella is seventeen, out of place, very bright, pale, clumsy, and unaware of her own emerging beauty. In fact, her name is a barely disguised symbol of her identity: when the book starts, she is the ugly duckling who is soon to become a beautiful (bella = beautiful) swan. As swans mate for life and thus become symbols of unending love, so too does Bella fall fully and completely for Edward.
In many ways, Bella is a completely ordinary girl. She is caught up in who likes who, who is going to the dance, and with how her (long divorced) parents are getting along. In other ways, Bella is the consummate romantic heroine. The combination of her beauty and her fearlessness in pursuit of love make her irresistible to her inhuman lover, a man who can punch holes in cars but who shows he would literally die rather than harm her.
If Bella is the romantic heroine, Edward is the romantic lead—and the Romantic lead. That is to say, he loves Bella, and if they were both human, would gladly marry her. He gets jealous when other boys pay attention to her and wants to protect her from all harm. In that he is the ideal male from a contemporary romance novel. However, he is also a very Romantic figure; he would be very much at home in Keats' poetry, in Shelley's Frankenstein , or in Goethe or Bronte's fiction. He is the outsider beyond all outsiders, save perhaps Victor Frankenstein's monster. This is because he is beauty incarnate—Meyer's descriptions of Edward make him sound...
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like a Greek sculpture come to life—and, of course, because he is such a complete outsider. He is beset by almost uncontrollable passions…which he somehow masters. The very proximity of his beloved Bella nearly drives him crazy; he wants her so intensely he could easily break the law. His condition is what draws them together, but also what keeps them apart. This is complicated by the fact that Bella neutralizes his psychic powers. He can read the mind of everyone else in Forks, but he cannot read hers.
If Edward is the Romantic figure, Carlisle is the Christian one. His Christianity is both literal/historical and symbolic. Literally, historically, his father was a deeply religious man who tried to destroy the powers of evil, such as vampires. On a symbolic level, Cullen is the perfect Christian. He suffers from temptation beyond that of normal humans. He lust for their blood, and yet he works as a doctor to serve people. In doing so, he mortifies his flesh and tames his desire. He is the highest model of goodness in Twilight, even if he is the head vampire.
Carlisle resisted the temptation to drink human blood, remaking himself into something like a saint. By contrast, James has surrendered to the hunger, allowing it to make him into a pure hunter. It is what he lives for, and he is a pure sadist. He is cunning enough to lure Bella to face him alone by playing a recording of her mother's voice over the phone, but egotistical enough to toy with her when he has her near death, a choice that leads to his death in turn. James and Carlisle represent the two warring sides of the vampire nature.