Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Lady Elisabeta Gonzaga

Lady Elisabeta Gonzaga (eh-leez-ah-BEHT-ah gon-ZAH-gah), who became duchess of Urbino when she married Duke Guidobaldo in 1488. She organizes the activities at her court during four evenings in March, 1507; discussions begin and end when she says so. Although her husband is on his deathbed and they have no children, she is a gracious hostess, idealized as the model of female virtue and paid many compliments.

Lady Emilia Pia

Lady Emilia Pia (PEE-ah), the widow of the duke’s illegitimate brother and the confidante of the duchess. She is the first to speak in defense of women and has the shrewdest tongue of all the women present.

Count Lewis

Count Lewis (Ludovico) of Canossa, a relative and friend of the author. A diplomat visiting Urbino, he leads the discussion on the first evening, during which he and others try to determine the qualities and speech of the ideal courtier.

Sir Frederick

Sir Frederick (Federico) Fregoso, a courtier, soldier, and diplomat; brother of Lord Octavian. A student of languages and the friend of literary figures such as the author, he leads the discussion on the second evening, explaining how a courtier should behave and speak.

Lord Octavian Fregoso

Lord Octavian Fregoso, a native of Genoa,...

(The entire section is 601 words.)