The Best Female Characters in Literature Fictional Characters
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The Best Female Characters in Literature

List Criteria: Favorite women and girls in books, plays, poetry, etc. - No comics

List of the best female characters in literature. From the evil to the undeniably perfect, these are the greatest female characters from literature of all genres. This list includes the best female characters of all ages, from the youthful Matilda (“Matilda”) to the ever-so-adult Evelyn Couch (“Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe”).

 Why do female literary characters stay with readers long after they’ve finished reading the novels these characters are featured in? Often, it’s due to the intimacy with which readers have come to know a character. Jane Eyre (and all of her desires and feelings), for example, becomes so real to readers that they feel as if they’ve met and understood this amazing female character.

 Other times, readers love female characters in literature because of the audacity of their actions. Scarlett O’Hara (“Gone with the Wind”) was exceedingly bold for a woman of her time, while Madame Defarge (“A Tale of Two Cities”) is an exemplar of tireless villainy. Some of the most popular female literary characters manage to embody both wholesome and defiant, becoming reflections of the complex nature of women.

 For the wide range of personality traits we find in these great female characters (and the audacious actions they’ve performed), these women have earned their titles as the best female characters in literature. They may be young or old, charming or black-hearted, but they are all memorable. Whether you love them or love to hate them, all the famous fictional heroines are here in this list of the best female characters in literary history. 

  • 11 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 475
    - 119

    Pride and Prejudice

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 323
    - 108

    most listed
    Little Women, Little Women, Little Women

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 389
    - 100

    To Kill a Mockingbird

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 653
    - 148

    Harry Potter series

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 277
    - 127

    A Song of Ice and Fire

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 281
    - 112

    Alice in Wonderland

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 324
    - 146

    The Hunger Games

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 198
    - 83

    The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 131
    - 90

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Macbeth

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 159
    - 43

    Jane Eyre

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 147
    - 73

    My Fair Lady, Pygmalion, My Fair Lady

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 281
    - 70

    Harry Potter series

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 279
    - 87

    Matilda

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 228
    - 68

    Anne of Green Gables

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 246
    - 78

    Mary Poppins series

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 113
    - 87

    the people's #1 & often listed
    Anna Karenina

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 204
    - 65

    Nancy Drew series

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 196
    - 112

    Gone with the Wind

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 151
    - 86

    Breakfast at Tiffany's

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 179
    - 80

    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 127
    - 87

    The Scarlet Letter

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 87
    - 95

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Great Expectations

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 196
    - 107

    A Song of Ice and Fire Game of Thrones  

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 166
    - 90

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 221
    - 70

    The Lord of the Rings

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 172
    - 83

    Little House on the Prairie

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 139
    - 64

    Pippi Longstocking

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 118
    - 78

    Silence of the Lambs

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 54
    - 79

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Madame Bovary

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 138
    - 71

    The Book Thief

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 89
    - 86

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Bridget Jones's Diary

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 82
    - 47
    ) open
  33. 33
    + 145
    - 64

    Much Ado About Nothing

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 89
    - 58

    Beezus and Ramona

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 72
    - 24

    added by carlybobarly
    The Chronicles of Narnia

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 51
    - 27

    Sense and Sensibility

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 47
    - 26

    Les Misérables

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 65
    - 84

    Wuthering Heights

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 48
    - 81

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 34
    - 5

    ranked low on reranks & added by LaurenTaryn
    Kate Daniels Magic Series

  41. 41
    + 32
    - 55

    Les Liaisons Dangereuses

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 59
    - 77

    Tess of the d'Urbervilles

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 91
    - 55

    ranked low on reranks
    The Color Purple, The Color Purple

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 51
    - 77

    Fight Club

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 63
    - 128

    The Great Gatsby, The Great Gatsby, The Great Gatsby

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 36
    - 58

    Lady Chatterley's Lover

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 34
    - 54

    Vanity Fair

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 36
    - 19

    ranked low on reranks
    Madeline

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 48
    - 85

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Dolores Haze Lolita

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 48
    - 61

    A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones)

    ) open
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