The Most Famous Literary Characters: An Engaging Ranking

Choose the literary character you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 23, 2024 07:10
Embark on a literary quest with StrawPoll as we dive into the enchanting world of fiction to uncover the most famous literary character of all time! From legendary heroes to iconic villains, our vast universe of polls and rankings now invites you to cast your vote and make your voice heard in this epic battle of wits, charm, and imagination. Will it be the courageous Harry Potter, the cunning Sherlock Holmes, or perhaps the enigmatic Mr. Darcy? The choice is yours! And if you find that your beloved character has been unjustly overlooked, fear not! You can suggest a missing option and rally fellow fans to join the cause. So, grab your quill, muster your passion, and let the literary showdown commence!

Who Is the Most Famous Literary Character?

  1. 1
    Created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes is perhaps the most famous literary detective of all time. His stories have been adapted into numerous movies, TV shows, and stage productions, making him a cultural icon.
    Sherlock Holmes in other rankings
  2. 2
    Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, is the titular character of William Shakespeare's play of the same name. Widely regarded as one of the greatest works of English literature, Hamlet is a complex character whose tragic story has resonated with audiences for centuries.
    Hamlet is one of the most challenging roles in theatre and literature. It is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare, featuring the complex character of Prince Hamlet.
    • Genre: Tragedy
    • Year of Publication: 1603
    • Setting: Elsinore, Denmark
    • Number of Acts: 5
    • Length: Approximately 4 hours
  3. 3
    Elizabeth Bennet
    C. E. Brock · Public domain
    The protagonist of Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet is a strong-willed and intelligent young woman who defies the societal norms of her time. Her wit and charm have made her one of the most beloved heroines in literature.
    Elizabeth Bennet in other rankings
  4. 4
    The narrator and protagonist of J.D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield is a rebellious and disillusioned teenager who struggles with the hypocrisy and phoniness of the adult world. His voice has become an emblem of teenage angst and alienation.
    Holden Caulfield in other rankings
  5. 5
    The titular character of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby is a mysterious and enigmatic figure who embodies the excess and glamour of the Roaring Twenties. His tragic story has become a symbol of the American Dream gone awry.
    Jay Gatsby in other rankings
  6. 6
    The protagonist of Miguel de Cervantes' novel Don Quixote, Alonso Quixano is a middle-aged nobleman who becomes obsessed with chivalric romances and sets out to become a knight-errant. His delusions and misadventures have made him a literary icon of idealism and folly.
    Don Quixote is a classical ballet that premiered in Moscow in 1869. It is loosely based on the famous novel by Miguel de Cervantes and follows the adventures of Don Quixote and his sidekick Sancho Panza. The ballet is known for its lively and colorful choreography, showcasing the talents of the dancers through virtuosic solos, energetic group dances, and breathtaking pas de deux.
    • Premiere Date: December 26, 1869
    • Setting: Spain
    • Act: Three acts
    • Style: Classical ballet
    • Main Characters: Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, Kitri, Basilio
    Don Quixote in other rankings
  7. 7
    The protagonist of Margaret Mitchell's novel Gone with the Wind, Scarlett O'Hara is a headstrong and determined Southern belle who survives the Civil War and Reconstruction by any means necessary. Her fierce spirit and resilience have made her a feminist icon.
  8. 8
    The obsessed and vengeful captain of the whaling ship Pequod, Captain Ahab is the central character of Herman Melville's novel Moby-Dick. His pursuit of the eponymous white whale has become a symbol of man's doomed struggle against nature.
    Captain Ahab in other rankings
  9. 9
    The hobbit protagonist of J.R.R. Tolkien's novel The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins is a timid and unassuming creature who embarks on a perilous journey to reclaim the treasure of the dragon Smaug. His adventures and transformation have made him a beloved figure in fantasy literature.
    Bilbo Baggins in other rankings
  10. 10
    Jane Eyre
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain
    The eponymous heroine of Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre is a strong-willed and independent woman who overcomes poverty and oppression to find love and fulfillment. Her story has become a feminist classic and a symbol of female empowerment.
    Jane Eyre in other rankings

Missing your favorite literary character?


Ranking factors for famous literary character

  1. Cultural impact
    How well-known is the character across different cultures, ages, and languages? Has the character become a cultural icon that is immediately recognizable to many people?
  2. Timelessness
    How enduring is the character's popularity over time? Has the character remained relevant and beloved despite the passage of time and changing social norms?
  3. Character development
    Does the character have a well-developed backstory and personality that resonates with readers and viewers? Are they unique, memorable, and intriguing?
  4. Influence on literature and popular culture
    Has the character had a significant impact on literature and popular culture, inspiring new works and spawning adaptations?
  5. Emotional resonance
    Does the character evoke strong emotions in readers, such as empathy, admiration, or love? Do they tap into universal themes and struggles that resonate with readers across generations?

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous literary character. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Character is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 231 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Character once every 24 hours. The rank of each Character is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous literary character

When it comes to famous literary characters, there are endless options to choose from. From classic tales to modern stories, each character has captured the hearts and imagination of readers around the world. But who truly stands out as the most famous literary character of all time? Some might argue that it's Sherlock Holmes, the brilliant detective of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories. Others might suggest Harry Potter, the young wizard who captured the hearts of a generation. And of course, there are timeless characters like Romeo and Juliet, Captain Ahab, and Jay Gatsby. The truth is, there's no one answer to this question. It all depends on personal preferences, cultural significance, and historical context. But one thing is certain: the most famous literary characters have left an indelible mark on the world of literature and beyond. They continue to inspire us, challenge us, and make us feel deeply connected to the human experience.

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