Study Guide

The Cantos

by Ezra Pound

The Cantos Characters

Characters

John Adams
John Adams (1735-1826) was the second president of the United States. His correspondence with Jefferson forms the basis for many of the middle cantos.

The Boss, Muss
See Benito Mussolini

Confucius
See Kung Futse

Isotta degli Atti
Isotta degli Atti (1430?-1470) was Sigismondo Malatesta's mistress and, later, his third wife. His love for her is demonstrated all over the Tempio Malatestiano by the intertwined initials S and I.

Kung Futse
Confucius (551-479 B.C.) is the moral anchor of The Cantos. Pound compares the moral precepts of the West, especially those of Aristotle, against Confucian ideals and finds the West's lacking. Perhaps the most important dictum of Confucius for Pound's poem is his insistence on exact terminology; Pound feared and hated the inexact use of language, and The Pisan Cantos are suffused with Pound's regretful sense that he violated this precept in his wartime broadcasts.

Ixotta
See Isotta degli Atti

Thomas Jefferson
The third president of the United States, Jefferson (1743-1826) was a proponent of agrarian democracy and opposed centralized banking systems.

Sigismondo Malatesta
Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta (1417-1468) was the lord of the Italian city of Rimini and a famous "condottiere," or Renaissance courtier. By the time he was 13,...

(The entire section is 415 words.)