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Atonement | Characters

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Character Description
Briony Tallis Briony is the "author" of Atonement, a novel she writes as an apology to her sister Cecilia Tallis and Robbie Turner for falsely accusing him of raping her cousin Lola Quincey. Essentially, the whole story is filtered through her point of view, but her youth makes her an unreliable narrator, as well as an unreliable witness to all the events. Read More
Cecilia Tallis Cecilia is Briony Tallis's elder sister and the victim of Briony's lie about seeing Robbie rape Lola. She falls in love with Robbie Turner and promises to wait for him after he is sent to prison and then goes off to fight in World War II. Read More
Robbie Turner Robbie is the son of the Tallis family's charlady. He falls in love with Cecilia, but is falsely accused of rape by Briony and goes to prison and then off to fight in World War II (1939–45). Read More
Lola Quincey Lola is Briony Tallis's cousin who is visiting because of her parents' impending divorce. It is her rape by Paul Marshall that leads to Robbie Turner being falsely imprisoned. Read More
Paul Marshall Paul is Leon's friend and houseguest. Partly because he is a chocolate magnate and an elite member of society, he gets away with raping Lola, whom he later marries. Read More
Emily Tallis Emily is Briony and Cecilia Tallis's mother. She is married to Jack Tallis, but refuses to confront him about his affairs. Read More
Annie Annie is the wife of Charles, Pierrot Quincey's grandson. She attends Briony Tallis's 77th birthday party.
Auntie Venus Auntie Venus dies before the events of the story. She is a family aunt who was always given the best room in the house.
Betty Betty is a cook who works in the Tallis household.
Henri Bonnet Along with his brother, Jean-Marie, Henri shows kindness to Robbie Turner in wartime France.
Jean-Marie Bonnet Along with his brother, Henri, Jean-Marie shows kindness to Robbie Turner in wartime France.
Mrs. Elizabeth Bowen Elizabeth Bowen is the reader of Briony Tallis's rejected novella who sends her notes on how to improve the manuscript.
Charles Charles is Pierrot Quincey's grandson. He organizes Briony Tallis's 77th birthday party.
Luc Cornet Luc is a French patient whom Briony Tallis nurses in the London hospital where she works.
Doll Doll helps Betty in the kitchen in the Tallis household.
Sister Marjorie Drummond Sister Drummond is the no-nonsense head of Briony Tallis's ward at the London hospital.
Nurse Fiona Fiona is Briony Tallis's carefree friend at the London hospital.
Danny Hardman Danny is "Old" Hardman's son. He is seen leering at Lola, and despite his alibi, is long suspected by Cecilia Tallis and Robbie Turner of having raped Lola Quincey.
"Old" Hardman "Old" Hardman is hired help in the Tallis household. He prefers to drive a trap instead of a car.
Mrs. Jarvis Mrs. Jarvis is Cecilia Tallis's landlady at her apartment in Balham.
John John is a friend of Briony Tallis's to whom she reveals her dementia diagnosis.
Nurse Susan Langland Nurse Langland is Briony Tallis's fellow nurse probationer, or student nurse, who is chastised for giving out her Christian name to a patient.
Private Latimer Private Latimer is a patient of Briony Tallis's at the London hospital.
Corporal Mace Corporal Mace is one of Robbie Turner's companions on his trek to the beach in Dunkirk.
Corporal MacIntyre Corporal MacIntyre is a patient of Briony Tallis's at the London hospital.
Major The unnamed major attempts to involve Robbie Turner in a mission as he is walking toward Dunkirk. Mistaking Robbie for an officer of higher rank, he lets him go on his way.
Dr. McLaren Dr. McLaren is the village doctor who examines Lola Quincey after she is raped.
Michael Michael, of West Indian descent, is Briony Tallis's cab driver on the way to her 77th birthday party. Briony notes that his education level makes it hard to determine his class.
Corporal Nettle Corporal Nettle is one of Robbie Turner's companions on his trek to the beach in Dunkirk. Briony interviews him for her novel.
Old woman (Bonnet) The old woman, whom Robbie Turner, Mace, and Nettle meet on their way to Dunkirk, is the mother of the Bonnet brothers.
Old woman The unnamed old woman whose pig Robbie and Nettle save as they walk toward Dunkirk gives them water and food to thank them.
Polly Polly is a chambermaid in the Tallis household.
Cecil Quincey Cecil is Lola Quincey's father. He attends her wedding to Paul Marshall.
Hermione Quincey Hermione is Lola Quincey's mother and Emily Tallis's sister. Her divorce from Cecil leads to Lola and the twins staying with Emily.
Jackson Quincey Jackson is the twin brother of Pierrot Quincey and the younger brother of Lola Quincey. His running-away note prompts a search party.
Pierrot Quincey Pierrot is the twin brother of Jackson Quincey and the younger brother of Lola Quincey. His running-away note prompts a search party. He is still alive to attend Briony Tallis's 77th birthday party.
RAF pilot The unnamed RAF pilot is nearly killed by an angry mob in Dunkirk but is saved by Corporal Mace.
Stella Stella is a friend of Briony Tallis's to whom she reveals her dementia diagnosis.
Jack Tallis Jack is the Tallis patriarch. A civil servant, he is absent during all the action of Atonement, so he does not defend his protégé, Robbie Turner, against Briony Tallis's accusations.
Leon Tallis Leon is Briony Tallis's beloved brother. He is bland and without ambition but always sees the positive in people.
Thierry Thierry is the man Briony Tallis ends up marrying. He dies two years before her 77th birthday.
Grace Turner Grace is Robbie Turner's mother, abandoned by her husband when Robbie was six years old. Jack Tallis gives her the house she lives in as a reward for her long, faithful service. She is one of Robbie's two defenders.
Uncle Clem Uncle Clem was a hero of World War I. He gave the Tallis family the vase that Robbie and Cecilia fight over in the fountain.
P.C. Vockins P.C. Vockins is the village constable.
Airman Young Airman Young is a patient of Briony Tallis's at the London hospital.
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