The protagonist of the story. Mathilde has been blessed with physical beauty but not with the affluent lifestyle she yearns for, and she feels deeply discontented with her lot in life. When she prepares to attend a fancy party, she borrows a diamond necklace from her friend Madame Forestier, then loses the necklace and must work for ten years to pay off a replacement. Her one night of radiance cost her and Monsieur Loisel any chance for future happiness.
Mathilde’s husband. Monsieur Loisel is content with the small pleasures of his life but does his best to appease Mathilde’s demands and assuage her complaints. He loves Mathilde immensely but does not truly understand her, and he seems to underestimate the depth of her unhappiness. When Mathilde loses the necklace, Monsieur Loisel sacrifices his own future to help her repay the debt. He pays dearly for something he had never wanted in the first place.
Mathilde’s wealthy friend. Madame Forestier treats Mathilde kindly, but Mathilde is bitterly jealous of Madame Forestier’s wealth, and the kindness pains her. Madame Forestier lends Mathilde the necklace for the party and does not inspect it when Mathilde returns it. She is horrified to realize that Mathilde has wasted her life trying to pay for a replacement necklace, when the original necklace had actually been worth nothing.