To the Lighthouse : characters

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To the Lighthouse is a notable literary work by Virginia Woolf. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of To the Lighthouse.


“To the Lighthouse” character analysis.

Mrs. Ramsay: Mrs. Ramsay is the central character in “To the Lighthouse”. She is a lovely, intelligent, careful wife and mother. She always tries to keep the family bond maintained. She is well-mannered with guests at the Ramsay family’s summer home on the Isle of Skye. She tries to create harmony and unity among her guests. She is a symbol of domesticity and maternal love. She died at a very early age. Her early death creates a void in Mr Ramsay’s family.

Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Ramsay is the intellectual and philosophical head of the Ramsay family. He is a professor and often lost in his thoughts. He seeks philosophical truths and desires admiration for his intellectual pursuits. He is more distant and reserved compared to his wife, Mrs. Ramsay.

Lily Briscoe: Lily Briscoe is an unmarried painter but never paints perfectly. She starts a painting at the novel’s beginning but can not finish it for 10 years. She does her first painting perfectly through Mrs. Ramsay’s painting. She is self-reliant and fiercely committed to her art. Throughout the novel, she struggles with her artistic vision. She seeks to complete a painting that captures the spirit of Mrs. Ramsay.

James Ramsay: James is the youngest child of the Ramsay family. He is six years old at the beginning part of the novel. He is devoted to his mother but disgusted with his father. He loves to cut a photo from magazines. He always wants to go to the lighthouse across the bay. Initially obsessed with seeing his father’s struggles to find his place in the world.

Charles Tansley: Charles is a young philosophy student of Mr. Ramsay. He loves to insult other people, particularly women like Lily. He discourages Lily from her painting. As he is a vicious atheist, nobody loves him. He is socially uncomfortable and a symbol of intellectual insecurity. He is often concerned with the other’s matters. As a self-centered person, he doesn’t want to see others in good situations. He feels proud to walk with Mrs. Ramsay.

William Bankes: An old friend of the Ramsays who is a botanist. He is about 60. He is a good friend of Lily Briscoe. Mrs. Ramsay expects that he will marry Lily Briscoe. Though they don’t marry each other, they trust each other deeply.

Augustus Carmichael: Carmichael is an unhappy opium-using poet. He does not like Mrs. Ramsay because of his dominating wife.

Andrew Ramsay: The oldest son of the Ramsays family. He died during the fighting in World War I. He is a talented, independent young man. He wants to build a career as a mathematician.

Cam Ramsay: Cam is the Youngest, artistic, and thoughtful daughter of Ramsay’s family. She is a source of tension within the family. She travels to the lighthouse in the novel’s last section of the novel with James and Mr. Ramsay.

Prue Ramsay: Prue is the beautiful and the oldest daughter of the Ramsays family. She dies of childbirth.

Rose Ramsay: Another daughter of the Ramsay family. She loves to beautify others.

Nancy Ramsay: Adventurous and freedom-loving daughter of the Ramsay family. She is the third of the Ramsay daughters. She does not like domestic life. She hopes for a life free from her mother from her mother.

Jasper Ramsay: Another son of the Ramsay who enjoys shooting birds.

Roger Ramsay: Son of Ramsay who loves an adventurous life. He looks like his sister, Nancy.

Macalister: A fisherman.

Macalister’s boy: The son of a fisherman.

Badger: Toothless dog of the Ramsays family.

Kennedy: A lazy gardener in the Ramsays family.

Mrs. McNab: A housekeeper who is mindless and leering.

Mrs. Bast: Bast is a woman who helps Mrs. McNab clean the Ramsays’ summer home on the Isle of Skye.

George Bast: The son of Mrs. Bast.

Mrs. Beckwith: A tourist to the Ramsay house, the Isle of Skye.

Paul Rayley: A young who loves Minta Doyle.

Minta Doyle: A young woman who accepts Paul Rayley’s marriage proposal.


 To read the Themes  of the novel  “To the Lighthouse.”