The Best Female Characters in Literature

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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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  • 47 ReRanks
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  1. 1
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    Harry Potter series

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  2. 2
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    Pride and Prejudice

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  3. 3
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    the people's #1 & added by mofletero
    War and Peace, War and Peace, Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff ...

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    Macbeth

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  5. 5
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    Jane Eyre

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  6. 6
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    A Song of Ice and Fire

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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Anna Karenina

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  8. 8
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    To Kill a Mockingbird

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  9. 9
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    Little Women, Little Women, Little Women

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  10. 10
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    The Hunger Games

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  11. 11
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    The Lord of the Rings

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  12. 12
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    Harry Potter series

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  13. 13
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    The Scarlet Letter

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  14. 14
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    Les Misérables

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  15. 15
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    ranked low on reranks
    Alice in Wonderland

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  16. 16
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Madame Bovary

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  17. 17
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    Emma

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  18. 18
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    Gone with the Wind

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  19. 19
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    A Song of Ice and Fire Game of Thrones  

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    The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings

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  21. 21
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    Tess of the d'Urbervilles

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  22. 22
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    ranked low on reranks & added by celiagold
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood ...

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    Matilda

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  24. 24
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    Mary Poppins series

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  25. 25
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    Anne of Green Gables

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    often listed & added by terquin jeds
    The Nun's Story

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  27. 27
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Vanity Fair

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  28. 28
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    - 90

    added by carlybobarly
    The Chronicles of Narnia

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  29. 29
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    Nancy Drew series

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  30. 30
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    Much Ado About Nothing

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  31. 31
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    - 157


    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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  32. 32
    + 353
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    Pippi Longstocking

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  33. 33
    + 337
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    My Fair Lady, Pygmalion, My Fair Lady

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  34. 34
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    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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  35. 35
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    added by celiagold
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part I, Harry Potter and the ...

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  36. 36
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    Little House on the Prairie

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  37. 37
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    Breakfast at Tiffany's

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  38. 38
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    Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The ...

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  39. 39
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    The Book Thief

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  40. 40
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Great Expectations

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  41. 41
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    Sense and Sensibility

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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones)

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  43. 43
    + 193
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    added by carlybobarly
    The Secret Garden, The Secret Garden

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  44. 44
    + 227
    - 125


    Beezus and Ramona

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  45. 45
    + 253
    - 105


    Charlotte's Web

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  46. 46
    + 212
    - 100


    Charlotte's Web

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  47. 47
    + 236
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    Silence of the Lambs

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  48. 48
    + 167
    - 46


    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of ...

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  49. 49
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    Claire Beauchamp Randall Frase... is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature

    added by JordanMc
    Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser Outlander

  50. 50
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    The Color Purple, The Color Purple

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