The characters in 'Matilda' make it a most entertaining story. Some of them we want to protect and help, while others inspire us to think up new and awful punishments for them! Read on to learn about the main characters in Roald Dahl's 'Matilda'.
Matilda, the title character, is a small girl of five years old in the Roald Dahl novel Matilda. She is unusually smart and teaches herself how to read and do math before her parents even enroll her in the local primary school.
She lives with her dimwitted parents in a nice, two-story house in an English village. Because her parents do not understand her, they call her names and think she is a vile, or wicked, child. The strong-willed, smart, and sneaky Matilda plays pranks on them to get back at them.
When Matilda encounters the formidable Miss Trunchbull, she discovers that she is able to move objects with her mind! And as it turns out, this unique ability helps her save the day.
Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood
Mr. Harry Wormwood, Matilda's father, is a crooked used-car salesman. As described in the book, he ''was a small ratty-looking man whose front teeth stuck out underneath a thin ratty mustache. He liked to wear jackets with large brightly-colored checks and he sported ties that were usually yellow or pale green.'' He dislikes Matilda a great deal and treats her as if she were a bothersome fly instead of his only daughter. He speaks to her harshly and does nothing to nurture her.
Matilda's mother, Mrs. Zinnia Wormwood, ''was a large woman whose hair was dyed platinum blonde except where you could see the mousy brown bits growing out from the roots.'' She is plump and wears too much makeup and is obsessed with watching TV. Mrs. Wormwood values looks over brains and frequently leaves young Matilda at home alone to play bingo in a town eight miles away. She is no candidate for Mother of the Year!
Miss Agatha Trunchbull, the headmistress of Matilda's school, is a force to be reckoned with. She is a tall and sturdy figure who once competed at throwing large objects great distances in the Olympic Games. She is big, muscular, and rather displeasing to the eye. As the book says, she dresses in ''a brown cotton smock which was pinched around the waist with a wide leather belt ... extraordinary breeches, bottle-green in color ... and green stockings.''
Although Miss Trunchbull is the headmistress at Crunchem Hall Primary School, she hates children - especially small ones! She tortures children for the smallest infraction and barks orders to the teachers, too. She is Matilda's arch-nemesis and, as luck would have it, she is also Miss Honey's aunt!
Miss Honey is Matilda's teacher. She takes an immediate interest in Matilda's academic gifts and tries her best to nourish Matilda's intellect. Miss Honey and Matilda have a special bond, and when Matilda discovers her special power, it is Miss Honey she turns to for advice. In the end, Miss Honey even adopts Matilda!
Miss Honey also has a secret past. Her parents died when she was young, leaving her in the care of her aunt, Agatha Trunchbull. Miss Trunchbull stole Miss Honey's inheritance and left her no choice but to live like a pauper (very poor person) in a small country cottage without even basic comforts. Miss Honey is an adult, but she is unable to fully stand up to Miss Trunchbull.
Finally, Lavender is Matilda's best friend at school and mastermind of the newt prank. This brings Miss Trunchbull to a new level of anger toward the children.
Let's take a couple of moments to review what we've learned!
Matilda is the child heroine and star of the Roald Dahl book Matilda. Most of the adults in Matilda have no morals, poor values, and consider Matilda to be a vile, or truly wicked, specimen. These adults include Mr. Harry Wormwood, Matilda's father and a crooked used-car salesman; Mrs. Zinnia Wormwood, Matilda's mother; and Miss Agatha Trunchbull, the headmistress of Matilda's school. However, the pauper, or very poor person, Miss Honey, who is Matilda's teacher, is very kind to Matilda. Matilda's best friend at school and mastermind of the newt prank, Lavender, rounds out the cast of primary characters in this lively, classic story.