Miss Murdstone is Mr. Murdstone’s sister who moves in with her brother and his new family after he marries Clara Copperfield to help keep house. Like her brother, Miss Murdstone is a cold, proud, and severe soul who mistreats both Clara and David.

Miss Murdstone is undoubtedly a cruel character. However, her role in the novel extends beyond mere antagonism. When the reader first meets Miss Murdstone, they likely assume that she and her brother are a villainous duo who will work together to control Clara and David. While this is true to an extent, it becomes increasingly clear that theirs is not a relationship of equals. Mr. Murdstone believes that, as the man, he is the head of the family. He applies this philosophy not only to his new wife but to his sister as well. There are several moments throughout the text in which Mr. Murdstone reprimands or insults his sister after she dares to step on his authority. For instance, he is outraged whenever she interrupts him and cries, “Jane Murdstone… be silent! How dare you to insinuate that you don’t know my character better than your words imply?” after she simply tries to defend him. That said, Miss Murdstone remains steadfastly loyal to her brother despite his cruelty. This exemplifies the ways in which some women in a patriarchal society become so entrenched in their subjugation that they become complicit in their own mistreatment. The text argues that this is dangerous because it perpetuates an endless cycle of abuse as women internalize misogyny and pass it along to other women—a trend that can be located in the text during the many scenes in which Miss Murdstone abuses Clara and aids her brother in tormenting her, and later attempts to interfere in David’s relationship with Dora.