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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    most listed Pride and Prejudice

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  2. 2
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    Harry Potter series

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  3. 3
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    Little Women

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  4. 4
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    To Kill a Mockingbird

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  5. 5
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    Alice in Wonderland

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  6. 6
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    Jane Eyre

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  7. 7
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    A Song of Ice and Fire

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  8. 8
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    My Fair Lady, Pygmalion

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  9. 9
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    the people's #1 & often listed Anna Karenina

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  10. 10
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    The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings

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  11. 11
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Macbeth

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  12. 12
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    ranked low on reranks Mary Poppins series

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  13. 13
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    Anne of Green Gables

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  14. 14
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    Matilda

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  15. 15
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    Nancy Drew series

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  16. 16
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    Breakfast at Tiffany's

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  17. 17
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Great Expectations

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  18. 18
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Madame Bovary

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  19. 19
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    ranked low on reranks Harry Potter series

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  20. 20
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    ranked low on reranks The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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  21. 21
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks The Scarlet Letter

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  22. 22
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    Gone with the Wind

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  23. 23
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    The Hunger Games

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  24. 24
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    A Song of Ice and Fire Game of Thrones  

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  25. 25
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    Little House on the Prairie

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  26. 26
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    Much Ado About Nothing

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

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  28. 28
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    Silence of the Lambs

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  29. 29
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Wuthering Heights

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  30. 30
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    The Book Thief

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  31. 31
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    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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  33. 33
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    Pippi Longstocking

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  34. 34
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    Sense and Sensibility

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  35. 35
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks The Great Gatsby

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  36. 36
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    The Color Purple

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    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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    King Lear

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    Vanity Fair

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  40. 40
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    Lady Chatterley's Lover

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  41. 41
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    ranked low on reranks Beezus and Ramona

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  42. 42
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    Les Liaisons Dangereuses

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  43. 43
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    Sense and Sensibility

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  44. 44
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    The Remains of the Day

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  45. 45
    + 45
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    Fight Club

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  46. 46
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    Ulysses

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  47. 47
    + 34
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Lolita

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  48. 48
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    His Dark Materials

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  49. 49
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    Tess of the d'Urbervilles

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  50. 50
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    A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones)

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