Elwood P. Dowd - a friendly and charming eccentric whose best friend is Harvey, an invisible six-foot-tall Pooka rabbit. He enjoys meeting new people and relishes discovering the simple pleasures of life. He is calm and gentle and nearly everyone is disarmed by his warmth and insistence on living in the ‘here and now.’ Perhaps he and Harvey visit the local bars all too often, but as Elwood says, “Harvey and I sit in the bars and we have a drink or two and play the jukebox. Soon the faces of the other people turn toward mine, and smile. They are saying: ‘We don’t know your name, Mister, but you’re a lovely fellow.’ Harvey and I warm ourselves in all these golden moments. We have entered as strangers — soon we have friends.” Elwood is Veta’s brother and Myrtle Mae’s uncle.
Veta Louise Simmons - Elwood’s younger sister, who has returned to the family home after the death of her mother and is intent on landing a suitable husband for her daughter Myrtle Mae. She considers herself an upstanding member of society and is very concerned about ‘fitting in’ and all the social proprieties that involves. Although she loves her older brother Elwood very much, she is embarrassed by his friendship with Harvey. So she plans to commit him to a mental sanitarium to spare Myrtle Mae any future embarrassment. She is a crucial character because she links the play’s two opposing forces: logic and imagination.
Myrtle Mae Simmons - Veta’s only daughter and Elwood’s niece, named after her dead fathers two sisters. She lives with her widowed mother in her Uncle Elwood's home. Both Veta and Myrtle are obsessed with her finding a man to marry. She is very concerned that her Uncle Elwood’s eccentric behavior with Harvey will prevent her from ever finding a suitable husband.
Ethel Chauvenet - an old friend of the family whom Elwood loves dearly and calls Aunt Ethel. She is a member of the town's social circle, which Veta wants Myrtle to break into. She attends club dances and horseshows. She wears her closes well with the casual sumptuousness of a Western society woman. She is very blunt and direct and doesn’t mince words. She hasn’t seen Elwood in many years and has never met Harvey- until now. (Possibly double with Betty Chumley.)
Dr. William B. Chumley - an older esteemed psychiatrist and the head of his own sanitarium called Chumley’s Rest. He is a difficult, exacting man feared by his associates and unwilling to tolerate his mistakes. He will go to any length to protect the reputation of his sanitarium, but his interaction with Elwood and Harvey will reveal an unexpected vulnerability and bend in his philosophy
Betty Chumley – is Dr. Chumley’s kind and talkative wife. She is more concerned with socializing than with science: When told that husband has to examine a patient, she tells him, "Give a little quick diagnosis, Willie - we don't want to be late to the party.”
Dr. Lyman Sanderson- A young and highly qualified psychiatrist, hand-picked by Chumley out of the twelve assistants that he tried. His talent is only surpassed by his vanity. He is as infatuated with Nurse Kelly- the head nurse at Chumley’s Rest- as she is with him, though he struggles not to let on.Wilson – has been the strong-armed ‘muscle’ of Chumley’s Rest for ten years. He is a devoted orderly responsible for handling the patients who will not cooperate voluntarily. He sets his sites on Myrtle Mae soon after meeting her and compliments her on her ‘nice build’. He even goes so far as to say ‘you got the screwiest uncle that ever stuck his puss inside our nuthouse”, in order to begin winning her over.
Judge Omar Gaffney - an old family friend of the Dowd’s and the family lawyer. He represents the estate of Veta and Elwood’s late mother and is very concerned with protecting the family’s best interest. He also represents the people in town who are accustomed to seeing Elwood talking to Harvey and who do not think anything of it.
E.J. Lofgren - is a cab driver that regularly takes patients to and from Chumley's Rest - and sees the negative results. His monologue about his sanitarium passengers is crucial to the climax of the play. It makes Veta realize that the treatment to make Elwood stop seeing Harvey might drain Elwood of the very thing that makes him unique and utterly vital.