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. 

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  1. 1
    + 507
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    most listed Harry Potter series

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 258
    - 74

    Little Women

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 377
    - 86

    Pride and Prejudice

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 316
    - 71

    To Kill a Mockingbird

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 211
    - 89

    A Song of Ice and Fire

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 115
    - 51

    My Fair Lady, Pygmalion

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 237
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    Alice in Wonderland

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 94
    - 20

    Jane Eyre

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 161
    - 62

    The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 105
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Macbeth

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 181
    - 50

    Anne of Green Gables

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 207
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    Mary Poppins series

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 89
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    the people's #1 & often listed Anna Karenina

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 224
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    Matilda

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 165
    - 49

    Nancy Drew series

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 125
    - 59

    Breakfast at Tiffany's

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 78
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Great Expectations

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 198
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    Harry Potter series

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 145
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    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 154
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    Gone with the Wind

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 256
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    The Hunger Games

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 151
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    A Song of Ice and Fire Game of Thrones  

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 47
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Madame Bovary

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 104
    - 62

    The Scarlet Letter

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 144
    - 61

    Little House on the Prairie

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 96
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    Silence of the Lambs

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  27. 27
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    ranked low on reranks The Lord of the Rings

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 113
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    The Book Thief

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  29. 29
    + 132
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    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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  30. 30
    + 122
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    Much Ado About Nothing

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  31. 31
    + 56
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Wuthering Heights

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 109
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    Pippi Longstocking

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 64
    - 26
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  34. 34
    + 53
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    The Great Gatsby

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  35. 35
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    ranked low on reranks The Color Purple

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 43
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    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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  37. 37
    + 31
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    Lady Chatterley's Lover

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  38. 38
    + 29
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    Vanity Fair

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  39. 39
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Les Liaisons Dangereuses

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  40. 40
    + 73
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    ranked low on reranks Beezus and Ramona

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 42
    - 69

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Lolita

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 29
    - 11

    ranked low on reranks Les Misérables

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 26
    - 11

    Sense and Sensibility

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  44. 44
    + 47
    - 57

    Fight Club

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 52
    - 37

    His Dark Materials

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 31
    - 40

    A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones)

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  47. 47
    + 17
    - 10

    King Lear

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 46
    - 41

    Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 92
    - 35

    ranked low on reranks Charlotte's Web

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 21
    - 35

    Love in the Time of Cholera

    ) open
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