The extended Chuzzlewit family
The main characters of the story are the members of the extended Chuzzlewit family.
Old Martin Chuzzlewit.
The wealthy patriarch of the Chuzzlewit family, lives in constant suspicion of the financial designs of his extended family. At the beginning of the novel he has aligned himself with Mary, an orphan, to have a caretaker who is not eyeing his estate. Later in the story he makes an apparent alliance with Seth Pecksniff, who, he believes, is at least consistent in character. His true character is revealed by the end of the story.
In a 1994 BBC adaptation of Martin Chuzzlewit, the actor Paul Scofield played both the characters of the elderly Martin and his brother Anthony.
Young Martin Chuzzlewit.
The grandson of Old Martin Chuzzlewit. He is the closest relative of Old Martin and has inherited much of the stubbornness and selfishness of the old man. Young Martin is the protagonist of the story. His engagement to Mary is the cause of estrangement between himself and his grandfather. By the end of the story he becomes a reformed character, realising and repenting of the selfishness of his previous actions.
The brother of Old Martin. He and his son, Jonas, run a business together called Chuzzlewit and Son. They are both self-serving, hardened individuals who view the accumulation of money as the most important thing in life.
The mean-spirited, sinisterly jovial son of Anthony Chuzzlewit. He views his father with contempt and wishes for his death so that he can have the business and the money for himself. It is suggested that he may have actually hastened the old man’s death. He is a suitor of the two Miss Pecksniffs, wins one, then is driven to commit murder by his unscrupulous business associations.
Mr and Mrs Spottletoe.
The nephew-in-law and niece of Old Martin Chuzzlewit, Mrs Spottletoe being the daughter of Old Martin’s brother. She was also once the favourite of Old Martin though they have since fallen out.
The bachelor cousin of Old Martin.