Yury Andreyevich Zhivago
- The title character and protagonist of the novel. The son of a once-wealthy man who became an alcoholic and committed suicide. After his mother's death, Yury was cared for by his uncle Kolya. Zhivago becomes a doctor and a writer and serves in World War I. He marries Tonya, and they have two children, but he falls in love with Lara while working in a military hospital.
Marya Nikolayevna Zhivago
- Yury's mother. She dies when he is a small boy.
Nikolay Nikolayevich Vedenyapin (Kolya)
- Yury's uncle. He becomes a famous writer and settles in Switzerland but later returns to Russia.
- A childhood friend of Yury's.
- A friend of Yury's who witnessed the elder Zhivago's suicide.
Alexander Alexandrovich Gromeko
- Tonya's father and a wealthy friend of Yury's.
Anna Ivanovna Gromeko (nee Krueger)
- Tonya's mother; the daughter of a wealthy landowner from Varyniko, near Yuryatin.
Antonina (Tonya) Alexandrovna Gromeko
- Gromeko's daughter, later Yury's wife.
Amalia Karlovna Guishar
- The widow of a Belgian engineer, she settles in Moscow with her daughter Lara and son Rodya.
Larissa (Lara) Fyodorovna Guishar (later Antipova)
- Amalia Karlovna's daughter and Yury's lover. She marries her childhood sweetheart, Pasha Antipov, and settles with him in Yuryatin, her birthplace. She has a daughter, Katya.
Rodyon (Rodya) Fyodorovich Guishar
- Lara's brother. He attends a military academy and becomes a soldier.
Victor Ippolitovich Komarovsky
- A lawyer who drove the elder Zhivago to suicide. He assisted the Guishars out of loyalty to Amalia Karlovna's deceased husband. He preys on the young Lara.
Pavel Pavlovich Antipov or Strelnikov
- The son of a railway worker. He marries Lara and the two move to the Urals together to teach school. He joins the army and is captured. He is presumed dead but later returns, using the pseudonym Strelnikov.
Iosif (Yusupka) Gimazetdinovich Galiullin
- The son of a railway worker. He joins the White Army.
Anfim Yefimovitch Samdevyatov
- A revolutionary who helps the Zhivagos when they are in Varyniko.
- The Soviet manager of Varyniko.
Liberius Avercievich Mikulitsin
- Mikulitsin's son and a leader of the partisan army.
- A former railway strike leader who becomes a leader in the Red Army.
Nadya Kologrigova, Kologrigov
- Mother of Lipa and wife of Kologrigov. Lara serves as her governess until Lipa graduates from school.