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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  1. 1
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    Hermione Granger is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature


    Hermione Granger Harry Potter series

  2. 2
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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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  3. 3
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    Elizabeth Bennet is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature

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    Elizabeth Bennet Pride and Prejudice

  4. 4
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    Jane Eyre is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature


    Jane Eyre Jane Eyre

  5. 5
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    Lady Macbeth is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature

    often listed
    Lady Macbeth Macbeth

  6. 6
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    Anna Karenina is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature


    Anna Karenina Anna Karenina

  7. 7
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    Arya Stark is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature


    Arya Stark A Song of Ice and Fire

  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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    Emma Bovary is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature

    often listed
    Emma Bovary Madame Bovary

  11. 11
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    The Scarlet Letter

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  12. 12
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    Katniss Everdeen is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature


    Katniss Everdeen The Hunger Games

  13. 13
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    Éponine is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature


    Éponine Les Misérables

  14. 14
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    Harry Potter series

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  15. 15
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    Emma

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  16. 16
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    Alice is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature

    ranked low on reranks
    Alice Alice in Wonderland

  17. 17
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Tess of the d'Urbervilles

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  18. 18
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    Galadriel is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature


    Galadriel The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings

  19. 19
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    often listed & added by terquin jeds
    The Nun's Story

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  20. 20
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    Scarlett O'Hara is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature

    ranked low on reranks
    Scarlett O'Hara Gone with the Wind

  21. 21
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Vanity Fair

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  22. 22
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    Éowyn is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature


    Éowyn The Lord of the Rings

  23. 23
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    Mary Poppins is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature

    ranked low on reranks
    Mary Poppins Mary Poppins series

  24. 24
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    Professor Minerva McGonagall is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature

    added by celiagold
    Professor Minerva McGonagall Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood ...

  25. 25
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    Anne of Green Gables

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  26. 26
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    Daenerys Targaryen is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature


    Daenerys Targaryen A Song of Ice and Fire Game of Thrones  

  27. 27
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    Matilda

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  28. 28
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    - 108


    Much Ado About Nothing

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  29. 29
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    Eliza Doolittle is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature


    Eliza Doolittle My Fair Lady, Pygmalion, My Fair Lady

  30. 30
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    added by carlybobarly
    The Chronicles of Narnia

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  31. 31
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    Nancy Drew is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature


    Nancy Drew Nancy Drew series

  32. 32
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    Holly Golightly is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature


    Holly Golightly Breakfast at Tiffany's

  33. 33
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    Dorothy Gale is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature


    Dorothy Gale The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

  34. 34
    + 297
    - 114


    Pippi Longstocking

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  35. 35
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    - 155
    Lisbeth Salander is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature


    Lisbeth Salander The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

  36. 36
    + 292
    - 114


    The Book Thief

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  37. 37
    + 314
    - 129


    Little House on the Prairie

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  38. 38
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    added by celiagold
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part I, Harry Potter and the ...

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  39. 39
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones)

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  40. 40
    + 184
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    Charlotte's Web

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  41. 41
    + 157
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    Sense and Sensibility

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  42. 42
    + 260
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    Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The ...

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  43. 43
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    Clarice Starling is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature


    Clarice Starling Silence of the Lambs

  44. 44
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    Beezus and Ramona

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  45. 45
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    Charlotte's Web

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  46. 46
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    added by carlybobarly
    The Secret Garden, The Secret Garden

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  47. 47
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    Miss Havisham is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature


    Miss Havisham Great Expectations

  48. 48
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    - 174
    Bridget Jones is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature


    Bridget Jones Bridget Jones's Diary

  49. 49
    + 155
    - 97


    The Color Purple, The Color Purple

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  50. 50
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    Catherine Earnshaw is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Female Characters in Literature


    Catherine Earnshaw Wuthering Heights

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