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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. 

The Best Female Characters in Literature Fictional Characters
  • 19 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
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2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 769
    - 180

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Pride and Prejudice

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  2. 2
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    Harry Potter series

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  3. 3
    + 323
    - 81


    Jane Eyre

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  4. 4
    + 468
    - 161


    Little Women, Little Women, Little Women

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  5. 5
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    - 150


    To Kill a Mockingbird

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  6. 6
    + 430
    - 194

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    A Song of Ice and Fire

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  7. 7
    + 504
    - 119


    Harry Potter series

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  8. 8
    + 523
    - 228


    The Hunger Games

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  9. 9
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    - 146


    Alice in Wonderland

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  10. 10
    + 422
    - 120


    Matilda

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  11. 11
    + 371
    - 99


    Mary Poppins series

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  12. 12
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    - 152


    Gone with the Wind

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  13. 13
    + 342
    - 99


    Anne of Green Gables

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  14. 14
    + 295
    - 125


    The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings

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  15. 15
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    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Anna Karenina

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  16. 16
    + 206
    - 139

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Macbeth

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  17. 17
    + 303
    - 93

    ranked low on reranks
    Nancy Drew series

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  18. 18
    + 225
    - 101


    My Fair Lady, Pygmalion, My Fair Lady

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  19. 19
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    - 93

    ranked low on reranks
    The Lord of the Rings

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  20. 20
    + 268
    - 103


    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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  21. 21
    + 198
    - 87


    Much Ado About Nothing

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  22. 22
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    Breakfast at Tiffany's

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  23. 23
    + 184
    - 45

    added by carlybobarly
    The Chronicles of Narnia

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  24. 24
    + 235
    - 123


    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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  25. 25
    + 244
    - 106


    Little House on the Prairie

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  26. 26
    + 211
    - 86


    Pippi Longstocking

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  27. 27
    + 215
    - 90


    The Book Thief

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  28. 28
    + 277
    - 156


    A Song of Ice and Fire Game of Thrones  

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  29. 29
    + 185
    - 118


    The Scarlet Letter

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  30. 30
    + 110
    - 46


    Sense and Sensibility

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  31. 31
    + 135
    - 72


    Emma

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  32. 32
    + 114
    - 44


    Les Misérables

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  33. 33
    + 162
    - 68


    Charlotte's Web

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  34. 34
    + 104
    - 11

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

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  35. 35
    + 153
    - 107


    Silence of the Lambs

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  36. 36
    + 81
    - 104

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Madame Bovary

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  37. 37
    + 139
    - 65


    Charlotte's Web

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  38. 38
    + 98
    - 34


    Madeline

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  39. 39
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    ranked low on reranks
    Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The ...

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  40. 40
    + 136
    - 83


    Beezus and Ramona

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  41. 41
    + 115
    - 48

    added by carlybobarly
    Elphaba Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

  42. 42
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    - 138

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Great Expectations

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  43. 43
    + 93
    - 36

    added by carlybobarly
    The Secret Garden, The Secret Garden

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  44. 44
    + 126
    - 74


    The Color Purple, The Color Purple

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  45. 45
    + 55
    - 77


    Vanity Fair

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  46. 46
    + 105
    - 109


    Wuthering Heights

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  47. 47
    + 96
    - 96


    A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones)

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  48. 48
    + 94
    - 100


    Tess of the d'Urbervilles

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  49. 49
    + 118
    - 134


    Bridget Jones's Diary

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  50. 50
    + 36
    - 31

    added by JordanMc
    Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser Outlander

137 +

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