Margaret Mitchell created many vivid characters in Gone with The Wind that may infuriate readers, inspire admiration, mirth, or even hatred, but the interesting thing is that readers would hardly be indifferent to the characters in the novel and they make Gone with the Wind a captivating read.
The lineup of characters in Gone with the Wind project human nature with varying degrees of virtues and vices. Meet some of them in this article.
Scarlett Katie O’Hara is the belle of the Clayton County. She is the protagonist of the novel and the author describes her as not being exactly beautiful but with a charm and an alluring figure that keep men wrapped around her fingers. She is selfish, greedy, ruthless, and insensitive but tries to hide those traits in herself and extol the ladylike virtues of her mother’s and her Mammy’s teachings. The devastation of the war soon brings those traits to the fore as she struggles against poverty and starvation.
She is great with figures and a genius at managing businesses. However, she has an utter lack of imagination and no appreciation for music, poetry, politics, literature, or any form of art.
She also has a proclivity to postpone thinking about things she finds bothersome to herself. Her most recurring words to herself are, “I’ll think about it later”.
Rhett Butler is the black sheep of a prestigious Southern family and is regarded as a scandalous reprobate by the genteel society of Atlanta. Like Scarlett, he is greedy, selfish, and does not conform to the conventions of society but while Scarlett tries to pretend to conform, he basks in being on the bad side of public opinion. He is wealthy, intelligent, well-traveled, and has a strong energetic personality. He is a good judge of character and sees Scarlett for who she truly is despite how much she tries to pretend. His influence on Scarlett would give her the courage to own up to many of her true traits.
Melanie Hamilton (later Mrs Melanie Wilkes)
She is a sharp contrast to Scarlett O’Hara. She is gentle, shy, selfless, kind, and has a generous heart that sees good in even the vilest of humans. She is frail and always sickly, an exterior that belies her strong will and unbeatable courage. She is an extremely devoted wife to Ashley Wilkes and loves Scarlett like a dear sister.
He is a courteous gentleman. Coolheaded and well respected among folks and very idealistic. He excels in all gentlemanly activities of the South—riding, hunting, dancing, and politics– but does them only half spiritedly because he lives more in an idealistic world in his mind that has a little touch with reality.
He is an honorable man; he is physically attracted to Scarlett and yearns for her body, but refrains from having sexual relations with her because of his obligation to his wife Melanie. He would later get disillusioned with his idealism by the war and its resultant devastation.
Mammy is a Negro woman who was a head slave and house servant to the O’Haras. She has a high sense of pride and is vehement in her belief of what should be the proper conduct for a lady. She is loyal, kind, and dedicated to her masters and continues to live with them by choice even after freedom for slaves was declared. She is set in the old ways she was born into, takes pride in being a slave to a prosperous plantation owner.
Even as a slave, she stands her ground and knows how to make her stance known to her masters without getting any reproof. Her eventual assertion of her freedom to her owner (Scarlett) is arguably the pinnacle of her development as an admirable character.
Rhett had once told Scarlett that hearts, like Mammy’s, are too valuable to be broken.
A good-humored but hot-tempered Irishman who built a prosperous plantation from nothing through hard work, grit, and luck. He has a choleric exterior but with a kind tender heart. He is headstrong and loves his land Tara and teaches Scarlett to love Tara too. He is extremely fond of his wife, Ellen, and proud of his accomplishment in marrying her and building Tara.
She is the epitome of Southern ladylike perfection. She is poised, “never sat with her back touching the back of a chair”, runs her household efficiently and dutifully, addresses everyone with formality, and has a steely quality that awes everyone. Her daughter Scarlett confused her with The Virgin Mary most times. But her ladylike disposition and dutiful service to her household was a coping mechanism for the lost lover of her youth.
A flimsy and childlike aunt to Scarlett’s first husband, Charles Hamilton. Indecisive, flippant, and always fainting at the slightest excitement. Loves gossip, is never taken seriously, and is often indulged by everyone as if she was a child.
Head slave and coachman of the Hamilton family. Makes all the decisions for Aunt Pittypat. A loyal servant that stood with his masters even after being freed.
A meddlesome matron of the respectable people of Atlanta. Always stands in judgment on what and who is acceptable in polite society or not. Pretentious loves to gossip and tries to bully everyone into doing her bidding.
One of the most admired patrons of Atlanta. He is a medical doctor loved by the people and is pompous, boastful but pleasant. But he loses some pomposity and air of superiority when his two sons die in the war and the Confederacy gets defeated.
Gerald O’Hara’s valet. Takes great pride in being a house servant and not a field hand. One of the few slaves that did not desert the O’Haras when slaves were freed. Pork marries a slave called Dilcey from another household before the war began and feels grateful that his master agreed to buy his wife and stepdaughter and bring them to join him in the same household.
An injured soldier nursed back to health at Tara after the war was lost. He is a calm, unexcitable person that soon becomes the confidante to everyone at Tara. His deftness at farming soon lifts the burden of running Tara off Scarlett’s shoulders.
A mysterious and taciturn injured soldier living in Melanie’s cellar. He has an ardent dislike for women, Negroes, and Yankees. He is one-eyed and one-footed and later revealed that he had been in prison for killing his wife because she cheated on him.
Suellen O’Hara is one of Scarlett’s two younger sisters. Suellen and Scarlett have a strong sibling rivalry and also a dislike for each other. they are both similar in their insensitivity, selfishness, and greed but while Scarlett has ambitions to become rich, Suellen’s only ambition is to get married.
Dilcey’s daughter sent to live with Scarlett in Atlanta. She is silly and mischievous and has a propensity to claim expertise on things she is clueless about.
Ashley’s sister. She is shrewd and observant and knows Scarlett is in love with Ashley. She hates Scarlettand never forgave her for snatching her beau, Stuart Tarleton from her.
Tara is not a person but the home of the O’Haras. It is the one true love of Scarlett that endured when she lost everything else.
Who are the two main characters in Gone with the Wind?
Scarlet O’Hara is the protagonist of Gone with the Wind. The second main character in the novel is Rhett Butler. Their meetings in the story often result in quarrels because of a clash of their tough personalities. They are similar in their selfishness and greed for money but different in certain aspects like their love for children. Scarlett does not like children but Rhett loves children.
Are Scarlett and Melanie sisters?
Scarlett and Melanie in Gone with the Wind are not sisters by blood. But they are sisters by marriage because Scarlett married Melanie’s brother, Charles Hamilton. Scarlett and Melanie would be a pair in a large part of the story and despite Scarlett’s resentment of Melanie, their relationship would blossom through facing many hardships together.
Who is the main female character in Gone with the Wind?
The main female character in Gone with the Wind is Scarlett whose full name is Katie Scarlett O’Hara. The beginning of the story introduces her like a love-struck sixteen-year-old from a wealthy family and the story ends with her as a twenty-eight-year-old woman hardened by hardships and losses.
What was Scarlett O’Hara’s sister’s name?
Scarlett O’Hara had two younger sisters in Gone with the Wind. The first one is Suellen O’Hara, christened Susan Elinor and the second sister is Careen O’Hara, christened Caroline Irene. Careen was gentle and meek, both of her sisters liked her. Suellen was as selfish and greedy as Scarlett and both of them had a strong sibling rivalry all through the story.