Moll Flanders

The narrator and protagonist of the novel, who actually goes by a number of names during the course of her lifetime. Born an orphan, she lives a varied and exciting life, moving through an astonishing number of marriages and affairs and becoming a highly successful professional criminal before her eventual retirement and repentance. "Moll Flanders" is the alias she adopts, or rather is given by the criminal public, during her years as an expert thief.

Moll's Mother

A convicted felon, Moll's mother was transported to the American colonies soon after her daughter was born. She reappears as Moll's mother-in-law midway through the novel, when Moll travels to Virginia with the husband who turns out to be her half-brother. She leaves her daughter a sizable inheritance when she dies, which Moll reclaims in America at the end of the novel.

The Nurse

A widow in Colchester who takes care of the child Moll from the age of three through her teenage years. The sudden death of this nurse precipitates Moll's placement with a local wealthy family.

The Elder Brother

One of the two brothers in the family with which Moll spends her teenage years, he falls in love with her. She becomes the mistress of this older brother, under the mistaken understanding that he intends to marry her when he comes into his inheritance.


The younger of the two brothers who fall in love with Moll. He eventually marries her, in spite of his family's disapproval, but dies after five years.

The Draper

Moll's second husband, a tradesman with the manners of a gentleman. His financial indiscretions sink them into poverty, and he eventually escapes to France as a fugitive from the law.

The Plantation Owner

A man who marries Moll under the deception that she has a great fortune. Together they move to Virginia, where he has his plantations. There, Moll learns that he is actually her half-brother and leaves him to return to England.

The Gentleman

A well-to-do man who befriends Moll and eventually makes her his mistress. His wife is mad, but he keeps Moll for six years before an illness and religious experience prompt him to break off the affair.

The Banker

A prosperous man whom Moll agrees to marry if he will divorce his unfaithful wife. They live happily for several years, but he then dies.


Also called James and "my Lancashire husband," he is the only man that Moll has any real affection for. They marry under a mutual deception and then part ways. Eventually they are reunited in prison and begin a new life together in America.

"My Governess"

Moll's landlady and midwife, later her friend and confederate in crime. She helps Moll manage an inconvenient pregnancy and initiates her into the criminal underworld.


Moll's son by the husband who was also her brother. She meets him with an overwhelming affection on her return to America, and he very generously helps her get established there.