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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  • 54 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
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    Macbeth

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    Harry Potter series

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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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    Pride and Prejudice

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    The Lord of the Rings

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    Anna Karenina

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    Alice in Wonderland

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    A Song of Ice and Fire

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    Jane Eyre

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    Harry Potter series

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  11. 11
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    To Kill a Mockingbird

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  12. 12
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    Little Women, Little Women, Little Women

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    Gone with the Wind

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  14. 14
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    The Hunger Games

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  15. 15
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    The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings

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  16. 16
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    Les Misérables

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    The Scarlet Letter

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  18. 18
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    Madame Bovary

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    Matilda

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    A Song of Ice and Fire Game of Thrones  

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

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    Vanity Fair

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    Emma

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    Mary Poppins series

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    Tess of the d'Urbervilles

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  26. 26
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    Little House on the Prairie

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  27. 27
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    Much Ado About Nothing

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  28. 28
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    Pippi Longstocking

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    Anne of Green Gables

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  30. 30
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    often listed & added by terquin jeds
    The Nun's Story

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  31. 31
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    Nancy Drew series

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    added by carlybobarly
    The Chronicles of Narnia

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

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    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return ...

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    added by Polar Bear
    Odysseus: Voyage to the Underworld

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  36. 36
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    My Fair Lady, Pygmalion, My Fair Lady

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    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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  38. 38
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    Die Nibelungen: Siegfried

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    Breakfast at Tiffany's

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    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part I, Harry Potter and the ...

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    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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  42. 42
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    added by Polar Bear
    Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

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    Sense and Sensibility

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  44. 44
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    added by Polar Bear
    Das Rheingold, Der Ring des Nibelungen

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  45. 45
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    The Book Thief

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

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    A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones)

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    often listed
    Great Expectations

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    added by Polar Bear
    The Super Hero Squad Show, Thor: The Dark World, Thor: Tales of Asgard

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

    ranked low on reranks & added by Mollevangsvagen
    Penelope Odyssey

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