Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Beatrice-Joanna (beh-ah-TREES-hoh-AHN-yah), the beautiful daughter of Vermandero, a wealthy government official. Her sudden infatuation for Alsemero, a handsome Spaniard, precipitates her rapid moral degeneration, which culminates in the grotesque irony of her wedding night: She spends it with De Flores, a man whom she loathes, while her servant enjoys the husband for whom she entered on her career of deceit and murder. She proceeds boldly in her villainy and professes love she does not feel to procure De Flores’ help in the murder of her fiancé, Alonzo. She is so completely unaware of the implications of what she is doing that she is almost stunned when De Flores demands the fruits of this feigned love as his payment. Dying of the wounds he has inflicted on her, she wonders at the evil influence this strange lover has exerted over her, drawing her into his power in spite of her intense loathing of him.
De Flores (FLOH-rehs), her strange partner in crime, Vermandero’s servant. His life revolves around a single obsession, his passion for this young woman who shows him nothing but scorn and loathing. Although he is not convinced of the sincerity of Beatrice-Joanna’s blandishments, he sees in her request for help the means to satisfy his desire. Her wishes are, for him, sufficient justification for...
(The entire section is 726 words.)
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List of Characters
Alibius is a jealous old doctor who is in charge of a private lunatic asylum. He is married to Isabella, a woman much younger than himself, and he is worried that when he is away another man may usurp his position. He therefore instructs his servant Lollio to prevent any of the visitors to the asylum, who may include young nobleman who come to gawk at the inmates, from seeing Isabella.
Alsemero is a nobleman from Valencia who falls in love with Beatrice. He immediately postpones his voyage to Malta to declare his love for her. Alsemero is an honorable man. When he finds out that Beatrice is betrothed to Alonzo but would sooner marry him, Alsemero, he wants to challenge Alonzo to a duel. But Beatrice refuses to allow this. When Jasperino informs him that he and Diaphanta have overheard suspicious conversations between De Flores and Beatrice, Alsemero gives her a potion that is supposed to reveal whether a woman is a virgin. Not a jealous man by nature, he does not want to think ill of his new bride and is relieved when she passes the test. When Beatrice is finally forced into confessing her crime to him, he is horrified and rejects her utterly.
Antonio is the changeling, the counterfeit fool. He is a member of Vermandero’s staff, but he gets permission to leave for a while, pretending that he is going on a trip to Bramata. In truth, he wants...
(The entire section is 1606 words.)