* Philip Pirrip, nicknamed Pip, an orphan and the protagonist and narrator of Great Expectations. Throughout his childhood, Pip thought that he was going to be trained as a blacksmith, but with Magwitch's anonymous patronage, Pip travels to London and becomes a gentleman.
* Joe Gargery, Pip's brother-in-law, and his first father figure. He is a blacksmith who is always kind to Pip and the only person with whom Pip is always honest. Joe was very disappointed when Pip decided to leave his home and travel to London to become a gentleman rather than be a blacksmith.
* Mrs Joe Gargery, Pip's hot-tempered adult sister, who raises him after the death of their parents but complains constantly of the burden Pip is to her. Orlick, her husband's journeyman, attacks her and she is left disabled until her death.
* Mr Pumblechook, Joe Gargery's uncle, an officious bachelor and corn merchant. While holding Pip in disdain, he tells Mrs Joe how noble she is to raise Pip. As the person who first connected Pip to Miss Havisham, he even claims to have been the original architect of Pip's precious fortune. Pip despises Mr Pumblechook as Mr Pumblechook constantly makes himself out to be better than he really is. He is a cunning impostor. When Pip finally stands up to him, Mr Pumblechook turns those listening to the conversation against Pip and his usefulness at succession.
* Miss Havisham, wealthy spinster who takes Pip on as a companion and who Pip suspects is his benefactor. Miss Havisham does not discourage this as it fits into her own spiteful plans which derive from her desire for revenge after being jilted at the altar several years before. She later apologizes to him as she's overtaken by guilt. He accepts her apology and she is badly burnt when her dress, which she has never taken off since being jilted, catches a flame from a spark which leapt from the fire. Pip saves her, but she later dies from her injuries.
* Estella, Miss Havisham's adopted daughter, whom Pip pursues romantically throughout the novel. She is secretly the daughter of Molly, Jaggers's housekeeper, and Abel Magwitch, Pip's convict, but was given up to Miss Havisham after a murder trial. Estella represents the life of wealth and culture for which Pip strives. Since her ability to love has been ruined by Miss Havisham, she is unable to return Pip's passion. She warns Pip of this repeatedly, but he is unwilling or unable to believe her.
* Matthew Pocket, a cousin of Miss Havisham's. He is the patriarch of the Pocket family, but unlike others of her relatives he is not greedy for Havisham's wealth. Matthew Pocket has a family of nine children, two nurses, a housekeeper, a cook, and a pretty but useless wife (named Belinda). He also tutors young gentlemen, such as Bentley Drummle, Startop, Pip, and his own son Herbert, who live on his estate.
* Herbert Pocket, a member of the Pocket family, Miss Havisham's presumed heirs, whom Pip first meets as a "pale young gentleman" who challenges Pip to a fist fight at Miss Havisham's house when both are children. He is the son of Matthew Pocket, Pip's tutor in the "gentlemanly" arts, and shares his apartment with Pip in London, becoming Pip's fast friend who is there to share Pip's happiness as well as his troubles. He is in love with a girl called Clara. Herbert keeps it secret because he knows his mother would say she is below his "station".
* Arthur Havisham, Miss Havisham's estranged brother, who tried to steal Miss Havisham's money, along with Compeyson. Arthur is only mentioned in the book; the reader never meets him in person.
* Camilla, an ageing, talkative relative of Miss Havisham who does not care much for Miss Havisham and only wants her money. She is one of the many relatives who hang around Miss Havisham "like flies" for her wealth.
* Cousin Raymond, another ageing relative of Miss Havisham who is only interested in her money. He is married to Camilla.
* Georgiana, an ageing relative of Miss Havisham who is only interested in her money.
* Sarah Pocket, "a dry, brown corrugated old woman, with a small face that might have been made out of walnut shells, and a large mouth like a cat's without the whiskers." Another ageing relative of Miss Havisham who is only interested in her money.
* The Convict, an escapee from a prison ship, whom Pip treats kindly, and who turns out to be his benefactor, at which time his real name is revealed to be Abel Magwitch, but who is also known as Provis and Mr Campbell in parts of the story to protect his identity. Pip also covers him as his uncle in order that no one recognizes him as a convict sent to Australia years before.
o Abel Magwitch, the convict's given name, who is also Pip's benefactor.
o Provis, a name that Abel Magwitch uses when he returns to London, to conceal his identity. Pip also says that "Provis" is his uncle visiting from out of town.
o Mr Campbell, a name that Abel Magwitch uses after he is discovered in London by his enemy.
* Mr and Mrs Hubble, simple folk who think they are more important than they really are. They live in Pip's village.
* Mr Wopsle, the clerk of the church in Pip's village. He later gives up the church work and moves to London to pursue his ambition to be an actor, even though he is not very good.
o Mr Waldengarver, the stage name that Wopsle adopts as an actor in London.
* Biddy, Wopsle's second cousin; she runs an evening school from her home in Pip's village and becomes Pip's teacher. A kind and intelligent but poor young woman, she is, like Pip and Estella, an orphan. She is the opposite of Estella. Pip ignores her obvious love for him as he fruitlessly pursues Estella. After he realizes the error of his life choices, he returns to claim Biddy as his bride, only to find out she has married Joe Gargery. Biddy and Joe later have two children, one named after Pip whom Estella mistakes as Pip's child in the original ending. Orlick was attracted to her, but his affection was unreciprocated.
* Mr Jaggers, prominent London lawyer who represents the interests of diverse clients, both criminal and civil. He represents Pip's benefactor and is Miss Havisham's lawyer as well. By the end of the story, his law practice is the common element that brushes many of the characters.
* John Wemmick, Jaggers's clerk, only called "Mr Wemmick" and "Wemmick" except by his father, who himself is referred to as "The Aged Parent", "The Aged P.", or simply "The Aged." Wemmick is Pip's chief go-between with Jaggers and generally looks after Pip in London.
* Molly, Mr Jaggers's maidservant whom Jaggers saved from the gallows for murder. She is revealed to be the former lover of Magwitch, and Estella's mother.
* Compeyson (surname), a convict, and enemy to Magwitch. A professional swindler, he had been Miss Havisham's intended husband, who was in league with Arthur Havisham to defraud Miss Havisham of her fortune. He pursues Abel Magwitch when he learns that he is in London and drowns when, grappling with Magwitch, he falls into the Thames. In some editions of the book, he is called "Compey".
* "Dolge" Orlick, journeyman blacksmith at Joe Gargery's forge. Strong, rude and sullen, he is as churlish as Joe is gentle and kind. His resentments cause him to take actions which threaten his desires in life but for which he blames others. He ends up in a fist fight with Joe over Mrs Joe's taunting and is easily beaten. This set in motion an escalating chain of events that lead him to secretly injure Mrs Joe grievously and eventually make an attempt on Pip's life. He is discovered and arrested.
* Bentley Drummle, a coarse, unintelligent young man whose only saving graces are that he is to succeed to a title and his family is wealthy. Pip meets him at Mr Pocket's house, as Drummle is also to be trained in gentlemanly skills. Drummle is hostile to Pip and everyone else. He is a rival to Pip for Estella's attentions and marries her. It is said he ill-treats Estella. Drummle would later be mentioned to have died from an accident following his mistreatment of a horse. "The Spider" is Mr Jaggers' nickname for him.
* Clara Barley, eventual wife to Herbert Pocket. A very poor girl living with her father who is suffering from gout. She dislikes Pip before meeting him because she is aware of how he influences Herbert's spending, but she eventually warms to him.
* Miss Skiffins, eventual wife to John Wemmick. She is known early in the novel for her occasional appearances at the cottage called "the castle" belonging to Wemmick and for the green gloves which she sports due to Pip's company. Those same gloves were interchanged for white at the only in text marriage scene, though there are several others that occur "off book."
* Startop, like Bentley Drummle, he is Pip's fellow student, but unlike Drummle, he is kind. He is said to have a woman's taste in many ways. He assists Pip, Herbert and Magwitch with the escaping business.