ANTH 2170 Study Guide - Final Guide: Anne Elliot, Persuasion (Novel), Benwick
Anne Elliot - The novel's protagonist, Anne Elliot is the middle daughter of Sir Walter
Elliot, a landed baronet from a socially important family. Quiet and reserved, yet clever
and practical, Anne sees the foolishness in her father's lavish spending. Because she is
neither the most beautiful nor the most image-conscious of his daughters, Sir Walter
often overlooks Anne, slights her, and dismisses her opinions. Though Anne seeks love,
she is conscious of her duty to her position and the prudence of making a suitable
match. Seeking to please those around her, in her youth, she was persuaded from
following her true desires. She balances duty and passion in a composed and respectful
Captain Frederick Wentworth - The object of Anne's affections, is a gallant Naval
officer, well-educated and well-mannered, has made his own fortunes by climbing the
Naval ranks; values constancy, practicality, and firmness of mind in women,
characteristics that will make a good Navy wife. Though Captain Wentworth is almost
universally liked and respected for his gentle nature and kind attentions to others, Sir
Walter disdains him for his 'lower' birth.
Sir Walter Elliot - The father of Anne Elliot, baronet, and owner of Kellynch Hall, Sir
Walter is a caricature of the impractical titled upper classes. Extraordinarily vain’
Conscious of keeping up grand appearances, Sir Walter spends lavishly, and brings his
family into debt.
Elizabeth Elliot - The eldest daughter of Sir Walter and the older sister of Anne,
Elizabeth Elliot is her father's favorite. Like her father, she is vain and primarily
concerned with keeping up appearances and associating with important people
Mr. William Elliot - Anne Elliot's cousin, and heir to Kellynch Hall, Mr. William Elliot is
a smooth talker; Only six months after the death of his first wife, and at the end of a
marriage that was generally known to be unhappy, Mr. Elliot is searching for a new
bride. Good- looking and well-mannered, Mr. Elliot talks his way back into the good
graces of Sir Walter, yet Anne questions his true motives.
Mary Elliot Musgrove - The youngest Elliot sister, Mary is married to Charles
Musgrove and has two small boys. She is high strung, often hysterical, and always
aware of the imagined slights others have done to her. A rather inattentive mother,
focuses on social climbing.
Charles Musgrove - Mary's husband, and heir to the great house at Uppercross,
Charles is a relatively good-natured man who patiently endures his wife's trials. He
would have preferred to marry Anne Elliot.
Louisa Musgrove - Charles's younger sister, Louisa is young, accomplished, and
headstrong. She falls easily in love and admires the Navy excessively.
Henrietta Musgrove - Younger sister of Charles and older sister of Louisa, Henrietta is
also young and fun-loving. Though she is not as decisive as Louisa, Henrietta sees the
charms both of her cousin Charles Hayter and of the dashing Captain Wentworth.
Mr. & Mrs. Musgrove - The parents of Charles, Henrietta, and Louisa, the Musgroves
have provided a balanced, happy home for their children at Uppercross. They are a
landed family, second in rank in the parish only to the Elliots. They are practical, and
want only happiness for their children.
Charles Hayter - Cousin to the Musgroves, the Hayter family is nevertheless
enmeshed in a much lower social circle because of their 'inferior, retired, and unpolished
way of living.' chose to be a scholar and a gentleman, and consequently has much more
refined manners; hopes to court his cousin Henrietta and make her his wife.
Captain Benwick - Once engaged to the Captain Harville's now-deceased sister,
Fanny, Captain Benwick is a depressed naval officer who mourns the death of his lost
love; a shy man and an ardent reader of poetry. When Anne meets him, he is on leave
from his ship and he is living with Captain and Mrs. Harville. He seeks a young woman
to help him get over Fanny, and his attentions turn, surprisingly, to Louisa Musgrove.
Lady Russell - The former best friend of Anne's deceased mother, Lady Russell is a
woman of considerable birth and wealth who serves as advisor to the Elliot family. A
practical woman, she is conscious of class interactions and finances. Anne is her
favorite of the Elliot daughters and, though she means well, she sometimes gives Anne
Admiral and Mrs. Croft - The amiable couple that rents Kellynch Hall when Sir Walter
can no longer afford to stay there. The Admiral is a decorated Naval officer and his
devoted wife travels with him when he is at sea. The Crofts are one of the few examples
of an older happily married couple in any of Austen's novels.
Mrs. Clay - The daughter of Mr. Shepard (family advisor to Sir Walter), Mrs. Clay soon
becomes the friend of Elizabeth Elliot. Though she is of much lower birth, freckled, and
not so very attractive, Mrs. Clay is a well-mannered widow. Anne, however, sees danger
in the way she endears herself to Sir Walter, and suspects she may seek to marry in a
class far above her own.
Mrs. Smith - The girlhood friend of Anne Elliot who is currently living in Bath, Mrs.
Smith has fallen on hard times. After her husband went into debt and left her a widow,
Mrs. Smith was left with nothing. Now crippled by an illness, Mrs. Smith rekindles her
former friendship with Anne and provides her with information that helps Anne learn
more of Mr. Elliot. Mrs. Smith functions in the story to highlight Anne's high value on
friendship and disregard for maintaining appearances at all cost.
Lady Dalrymple and Miss Carteret - The Irish cousins of the Elliots, Lady Dalrymple
and her ugly daughter, Miss Carteret, come to Bath. Though they are uninteresting and
unclever, Sir Walter seeks their renewed acquaintance because of their high social
Captain Harville and Mrs. Harville - Friends of Captain Wentworth, this couple
resides in Lyme and kindly cares for Louisa after her fall
-Eight years ago, she was engaged to be married to Captain Frederick Wentworth, but
Lady Russell persuaded her that Captain Wentworth was not of high enough
consequence, and Anne called off the engagement
-Wentworth grows jealous because he believes Anne is attach ed to her cousin Mr.
Elliot. Yet he writes Anne a love letter in which is pours describes his true, constant,
and undying love for her. Anne is thrilled and they become engaged. Mr. Elliot is
shocked that his plan to marry Anne has been foiled
-they get married, the end.