- The chief protagonist of the novel, a 29-
year-old woman of mixed English and German heritage
living in London in the early years of the twentieth
century. Sister to Helen and Tibby; later
Henry Wilcox's wife. Imaginative and committed
to "personal relations," Margaret is the chief
representative of the Schlegel family, which
represents the idealistic, intellectual aspect of the
English upper classes.
- The patriarch of the Wilcox family, a prominent
businessman in London. Married to Ruth Wilcox
and later to Margaret. Stuffy, conventional, and
chauvinistic, Henry is the chief representative of
the Wilcox family, which represents the pragmatic,
materialistic aspect of the English upper classes.
- Margaret's sister, a passionate, flighty girl of
21 who lives for art, literature, and "human
relations." Like Margaret, Helen is a representative
of the idealistic, cultured Schlegel family, which
represents the intellectual aspect of the upper
classes. But Helen, who is prettier than Margaret,
is also much less grounded and far more prone to
excessive and dramatic behavior.
- A poor insurance clerk on the very bottom rung of the
middle class--he has money for food, clothing, and a
place to live, but not much else, and is constantly
beset with financial worries. Married to Jacky.
Leonard represents the aspirations of the lower
classes; he is obsessed with self-improvement and
reads constantly, hoping to lift himself up. But he
is never able to transform his meager education into
an improved standard of living. Late in the novel,
Leonard has a sexual encounter with Helen
Schlegel, which results in his becoming the father
of Helen's child. Leonard is killed by Charles
Wilcox near the end of the novel.
- Henry's wife, who dies in the first half of the
novel. Gentle, selfless, loving, and strangely
omniscient, Mrs. Wilcox seems to represent the past
of England. Howards End belongs to her, and she
attempts to leave it to Margaret when she dies,
an attempt which is blocked by Henry and Charles.
- The oldest Wilcox son, a self-centered, aggressive,
moralistic young man who represents the negative
aspects of the Wilcoxes' materialistic pragmatism.
Married to Dolly. Charles is sentenced to three
years in prison at the end of the novel for the
killing of Leonard Bast.
Theobald ("Tibby") Schlegel
- Tibby is Margaret and Helen's younger
brother, a peevish 16-year-old, who grows up and attends Oxford.
Tibby is prone to acting out the flaws of the
Schlegel family--their excessive aestheticism,
indulgence in luxury, and indolence--but shows real
improvement by the end of the novel.
Aunt Juley Mund
- The sister of Margaret, Helen, and
Tibby's deceased mother. Though goodhearted, she
is a meddling, conventional woman.
- Charles' wife, a scatterbrained, insecure girl
who often causes trouble by revealing secrets.
- The youngest Wilcox son, who travels to Nigeria to
make his fortune in the British colony. Before he
leaves, he has a brief romance with Helen
- Leonard's garish wife, a former prostitute who
had an affair with Henry Wilcox in Cyprus.
- The youngest Wilcox daughter, a self-centered,
petulant young girl who, at 18, marries Percy
- An elderly spinster living in Hilton, who takes care
of Howards End when it is unoccupied. A childhood
friend of Mrs. Wilcox, Miss Avery takes the
liberty of unpacking the Schlegels' belongings while
they are stored at Howards End.
- Dolly's uncle, who marries Evie Wilcox.
- The Schlegels' German cousin, with whom Helen
vacations on the Continent.