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She was notable for being both the antagonist and protagonist of the story and was one of the few villains in the series who was not completely evil, though she did have her moments.
Madeline was the ghost of an old woman who lived in the titular apartment 214, she befriended a young girl named Stacy - who moved into the neighboring apartment with her mother following a split with her father.
Madeline originally manifested herself as a kind and gentle woman with a maternal side, however she was also open about how her old life had been ruined when her nephew broke his promise that she could stay with him: leaving her alone for many years.
Madeline found a connection with Stacy when the girl told her about how she had lost many of her friends too due to having to move and she decided it would help both of them if they had regular visits, Stacy unwittingly accepted the spirit's offer and created (without her knowledge) a pact of sorts with her.
However Madeline's nature changed after Stacy broke her promise to visit her on a very specific day and she began to manifest poltergeist activities, her kindness warping into rage and despair.
Madeline vanished for a long period of time and Stacy thought she would never return, however one night when Stacy's mother went out Madeline decided to manifest again and terrorized Stacy: revealing angrily to her that she had specifically asked Stacy to stay with her on the "special day" as it was the 10th anniversary of her death.
Stacy fled in fear but Madeline wouldn't give up, continuing to terrorize the girl with the continued question of "Why did you break your promise?".
However when Madeline finally cornered Stacy the girl begged for mercy, apologized and talked about how she didn't mean to hurt Madeline and she had only forgotten the promise as she was making a new friend.
Madeline's kinder nature returned and she realized that it was wrong to punish Stacy for seeking new friends, in turn Stacy sees Madeline's anger and despair come out of her feeling as if no one wants her around: in the end Stacy manages to make Madeline happy by having her mother rent apartment 214 and the two resume their friendship again.