The main character in the play is Maggie. The first Maggie is about eight years old, the second Maggie is slightly older, about sixteen and the third Maggie is only a few years older, maybe eighteen.
It is the story of Maggie Tulliver and her brother, Tom, living in a mill on the Floss River. Their father, Mr.Tulliver, is a proud man who loves his children but is easily angered by other things, especially those concerning his business. He wants his children to get the most they can from their lives and so pushes them to try their hardest in their schooling.
Maggie evidently has a strong bond with her brother Tom; her whole world revolves around him when she is younger. But, like with all siblings, arguments are inevitable and when Tom and Maggie argue, the audience can clearly see that they are both affected. .
Maggie was brought up in a society where certain rules were expected to be followed and in a society where women were not expected to work for a living or even go to school if they were not a member of the upper class. She was raised with the stigma that women were inferior to men. As she grew older she rebelled against this prejudice. Her first step to changing was when she became friends Phillip Wakem. Her friendship with Philip was comforting for her. He gave her the acceptance and appreciation she didn't receive from her family. Philip recognized that Maggie was intelligent and had lots of potential, something her family discouraged in her. When Tom and Maggie fall out over her relationship with Philip, we see the transformation of First Maggie' into Second Maggie'. Maggie and Tom's parents fall out. It worsens when Mr. Tulliver (Maggie's father) is left bankrupt because of Lawyer Wakem's (Philip's father). After this Maggie is blamed and forced to end her friendship with Philip.
Second Maggie' is clearly a girl with a deeply troubled past. She changes however into a spiritual and religious young woman.