The Heroine

The novel's protagonist and narrator; we never learn her given name. A shy, self-conscious young woman from a lower-middle class background, she begins the novel as a paid companion to Mrs. Van Hopper, a wealthy American woman. In Monte Carlo, she meets and marries the older, wealthy Maxim de Winter, and becomes "Mrs. De Winter," mistress of Manderley.

Maxim de Winter

A cultured, intelligent older man, and the owner of Manderley, a prized estate and mansion on the English coast. When the novel begins, he has recently lost his beautiful, accomplished wife, Rebecca, in what the world believes was a tragic drowning. In fact, however, he killed her himself.


In life, Rebecca was the beautiful, much-loved, accomplished wife of Maxim de Winter, and the mistress of Manderley. Now a ghost, she haunts the mansion, and her presence torments the heroine after her marriage to Maxim.

Mrs. Danvers

The sinister housekeeper at Manderley. She was fiercely devoted to Rebecca, and remains devoted to her even after death. She despises the heroine for taking her mistress's place.

Jack Favell

Rebecca's cousin. Lacking integrity and given to alcoholic behavior, he was Rebecca's lover while she was married to Maxim.

Frank Crawley

Maxim's kind, loyal overseer at Manderley, he befriends the heroine almost immediately.


Maxim's sister. A friendly, outgoing woman with a passion for horses.

Mrs. Van Hopper

A vulgar, gossipy and wealthy American woman. She employs the heroine as a companion while she travels from one European resort town to another.


Ben: A harmless, intellectually disabled man who spends much of his time on the beach near Manderley.

Colonel Julyan

The local magistrate in the region surrounding Manderley

Lady Crowan

A local noblewoman who suggests that Maxim and the heroine revive the tradition of holding an annual costume ball at Manderley.


A London doctor who saw Rebecca the day of her death


The butler at Manderley


The heroine's maid


One of Maxim's pet spaniels, and the heroine's favorite