Rip Van Winkle

Washington Irving

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Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe explains the main characters in Washington Irving's short story Rip Van Winkle.

Rip Van Winkle | Characters

Character Description
Rip Van Winkle Although Rip Van Winkle is helpful to his neighbors, he detests having to do any profitable work. He is tormented by his nagging wife but never veers from his true, indolent nature. Read More
Dame Van Winkle Dame Van Winkle is Rip's nagging wife, who is constantly yelling at him to work. Read More
Stranger The stranger is a mysterious character Rip sees carrying a keg of liquor up the high mountain that Rip is climbing. Rip's involvement with the stranger leads to his 20-year sleep. Read More
Judith Gardenier Judith Gardenier is Rip's daughter. She appears only as a grown woman in the latter part of the story. Read More
Peter Vanderdonk Peter Vanderdonk is the oldest survivor from Rip's old life; he recognizes Rip upon his return after his long sleep. He confirms the truth of Rip's magic tale. Read More
Jonathan Doolittle Jonathan Doolittle is the owner of the Union Hotel in the "modern" time Rip returns to after his sleep.
Brom Dutcher Brom Dutcher is Rip's friend and part of the group that sits and talks in front of the old inn.
Mr. Gardenier Mr. Gardenier is Rip's son-in-law. He and his wife, Judith, take Rip into their home when he returns as an elderly man.
Rip Gardenier Rip Gardenier is Rip's infant grandson and the son of his daughter, Judith.
Diedrich Knickerbocker Diedrich Knickerbocker is an amateur historian and the narrator of the story. He claims Rip's story is true.
Old woman The old woman is a member of the crowd that confronts Rip in front of the Union Hotel.
Derrick Van Bummel Derrick Van Bummel is the schoolmaster who reads the newspaper aloud to Rip and his friends in front of the inn during Rip's "old" life.
Dominie Van Shaick Dominie (minister) Van Shaick is the village parson and one of Rip's friends in his "old" life.
Rip Van Winkle Jr. Son of Rip and Dame Van Winkle, Rip Van Winkle Jr. is as lazy as his father.
Nicholas Vedder Nicholas Vedder is the village patriarch and owner of the inn at which Rip and his friends sit and talk in the early part of the narrative.
Wolf Wolf is Rip's faithful dog previous to Rip's long sleep.
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