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
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    Pride and Prejudice

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 298
    - 98

    most listed
    Little Women

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 360
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    To Kill a Mockingbird

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 603
    - 139


    Harry Potter series

    ) open
  5. 5
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    - 119


    A Song of Ice and Fire

    ) open
  6. 6
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    - 129


    The Hunger Games

    ) open
  7. 7
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    - 106


    Alice in Wonderland

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 180
    - 79


    The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 118
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Macbeth

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 139
    - 70


    My Fair Lady, Pygmalion

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 132
    - 41


    Jane Eyre

    ) open
  12. 12
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    Matilda

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 212
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    Anne of Green Gables

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 236
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    Mary Poppins series

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 194
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    Nancy Drew series

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 101
    - 84

    the people's #1 & often listed
    Anna Karenina

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 180
    - 103


    Gone with the Wind

    ) open
  18. 18
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    ranked low on reranks
    Harry Potter series

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 143
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    Breakfast at Tiffany's

    ) open
  20. 20
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    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    ) open
  21. 21
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    The Scarlet Letter

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  22. 22
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Great Expectations

    ) open
  23. 23
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    A Song of Ice and Fire Game of Thrones  

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 147
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    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    ) open
  25. 25
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    Little House on the Prairie

    ) open
  26. 26
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    The Lord of the Rings

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  27. 27
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Madame Bovary

    ) open
  28. 28
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    Silence of the Lambs

    ) open
  29. 29
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    The Book Thief

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  30. 30
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  31. 31
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    Bridget Jones's Diary

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  32. 32
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    Much Ado About Nothing

    ) open
  33. 33
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    Beezus and Ramona

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 129
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    Pippi Longstocking

    ) open
  35. 35
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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  36. 36
    + 62
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    Wuthering Heights

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  37. 37
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    - 25


    Sense and Sensibility

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  38. 38
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    ranked low on reranks & added by LaurenTaryn
    Kate Daniels Magic Series

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

    ) open
  40. 40
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    Les Misérables

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 56
    - 23

    added by carlybobarly
    The Chronicles of Narnia

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 55
    - 73


    Tess of the d'Urbervilles

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  43. 43
    + 87
    - 52

    ranked low on reranks
    The Color Purple

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 49
    - 73


    Fight Club

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 59
    - 121


    The Great Gatsby

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 33
    - 57


    Lady Chatterley's Lover

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 33
    - 54


    Vanity Fair

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 46
    - 83


    Dolores Haze Lolita

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 42
    - 58


    A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones)

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 13
    - 9

    new! & added by DianeP.DesAutels
    Mercy Thompson Mercedes Thompson Universe

    ) open
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