Character of Moll Flanders in Daniel Defoe’s Novel

Character of Moll Flanders in Daniel Defoe’s Novel

Moll Flanders is a fictional character created by the English author Daniel Defoe in his novel titled “Moll Flanders,” published in 1722. Moll Flanders is the protagonist and narrator of the story, and her character is complex and multifaceted.

Moll Flanders is a resourceful and independent woman who navigates through a challenging life marked by poverty, crime, and moral ambiguity. Born in Newgate Prison to a convicted criminal mother, Moll grows up in a harsh and unforgiving environment. She experiences a series of unfortunate events, including being orphaned at a young age, becoming a servant, and enduring abusive relationships.

However, Moll possesses a strong survival instinct and a desire for wealth and social advancement. Throughout the novel, she engages in various dubious activities, including theft, prostitution, and multiple marriages, all in an attempt to improve her circumstances. Moll’s actions are driven by her determination to escape poverty and gain financial security.

Despite her involvement in morally questionable activities, Moll Flanders is not portrayed as purely wicked or virtuous. She is a complex character who often justifies her actions by highlighting the harsh realities of her life and the limited opportunities available to women in her time. Moll’s narrative reveals her self-awareness and introspection as she reflects on her choices and their consequences.

Moll Flanders is an intriguing character because she challenges traditional societal norms and expectations placed on women. She embodies resilience, adaptability, and a relentless pursuit of personal freedom. Her character can be seen as a critique of the limitations imposed on women during the 18th century, as she demonstrates agency and independence in a world dominated by men.

Overall, Moll Flanders is a fascinating and morally ambiguous character who embodies both the flaws and strengths of human nature. Her story explores themes of survival, social mobility, and the complexities of morality, making her an enduring and memorable literary figure.

Key Points to Remember:

 Introduction : Moll’s most salient characteristics are her ingenuity, energy, and determination to survive and do well. She is willing to sacrifice moral principles in order to prosper, but does not appear to be extraordinarily wicked: when her continued prosperity seems secure, she can be an exemplary wife, sober and virtuous.

Beautiful, Clever and Talented : She is beautiful, clever, and talented, and her education is better than those of most girls of her class, since she learned the lessons of the young ladies she served as a maid.

Manners and Habits : Her manners are generally good and she has clean habits, enabling her to pass as a lady if she chooses. She rarely lets herself despair, believing that drooping under the weight of misfortune doubles it.

Self Control : She has a great amount of self control, and in particular is able to keep important secrets from people close to her for long periods of time.

Excellent Actress : She is an excellent actress, and can take on different characters as easily as changing her clothes, but prefers to appear as a lady.

Affectionate : Although she marries for money several times, she is capable of deep affection, and devotes a great deal of time, money, and effort to saving her Lancashire husband. Her affection for her children is not terribly strong, however.

Self Esteem : There are some things she refuses to do, such as having abortions or being a streetwalker.

Cautious Thief : She is a very cautious thief, never engaging in violence or house-breaking, and never revealing more about herself than necessary.

Conclusion : Her religious principles vary depending on her circumstances: she is fairly tolerant of different sects, and usually does not seem to think about God much. She is very fervent for a while in Newgate, but that wears off as her circumstances improve – however, she is never an atheist.

Show 2 Comments


  1. Abhi

    Its really a great characterisation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *