The Best Female Characters in Literature Fictional Characters

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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  • 39 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
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  1. 1
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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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  2. 2
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    Pride and Prejudice

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    Harry Potter series

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    Jane Eyre

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    Anna Karenina

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    Macbeth

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    Little Women, Little Women, Little Women

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    To Kill a Mockingbird

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    A Song of Ice and Fire

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    The Scarlet Letter

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  11. 11
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    Les Misérables

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    often listed
    Madame Bovary

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  13. 13
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    The Hunger Games

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  14. 14
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Emma

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    Harry Potter series

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  16. 16
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    often listed & added by terquin jeds
    The Nun's Story

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    Tess of the d'Urbervilles

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    Alice in Wonderland

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  19. 19
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    The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings

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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Vanity Fair

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  21. 21
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    Gone with the Wind

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  22. 22
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    Anne of Green Gables

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  23. 23
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    The Lord of the Rings

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  24. 24
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    Matilda

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  25. 25
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    Mary Poppins series

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    often listed
    Much Ado About Nothing

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  27. 27
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    My Fair Lady, Pygmalion, My Fair Lady

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

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  29. 29
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    Nancy Drew series

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  30. 30
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    A Song of Ice and Fire Game of Thrones  

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  31. 31
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    added by carlybobarly
    The Chronicles of Narnia

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  32. 32
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    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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  33. 33
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    Breakfast at Tiffany's

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  34. 34
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    Little House on the Prairie

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    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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    Pippi Longstocking

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  37. 37
    + 164
    - 75


    Charlotte's Web

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  38. 38
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    The Book Thief

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  39. 39
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    Sense and Sensibility

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  40. 40
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    added by celiagold
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part I, Harry Potter and the ...

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  41. 41
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    Charlotte's Web

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  42. 42
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    Silence of the Lambs

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  43. 43
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    Beezus and Ramona

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  44. 44
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    - 45

    added by carlybobarly
    The Secret Garden, The Secret Garden

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  45. 45
    + 145
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    Bridget Jones's Diary

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  46. 46
    + 120
    - 115


    A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones)

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  47. 47
    + 143
    - 152


    Great Expectations

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  48. 48
    + 140
    - 90


    The Color Purple, The Color Purple

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  49. 49
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    Wuthering Heights

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  50. 50
    + 133
    - 46

    ranked low on reranks
    Madeline

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