Emilia Galotti (gah-LOHT-tee), the beautiful daughter of a soldier. She is betrothed to Count Appiani. Lecherous Prince Hettore Gonzaga, though engaged to marry the princess of Massa and in love with his mistress, Countess Orsina, desires Emilia. The prince’s wily chamberlain, the Marquis Marinelli, suggests to the prince that Count Appiani be sent on a mission to another province, thus leaving Emilia unprotected from the designs of the prince. When Count Appiani refuses to go on the mission, he is assassinated. Emilia is abducted and taken to the prince’s palace. When her father sees that his daughter’s chastity is about to be violated, he stabs her and presents her body to the lustful prince.
Prince Hettore Gonzaga
Prince Hettore Gonzaga (eht-TOH-ray gohn-ZAH-gah), the lascivious ruler of Sabionetta and Guastalla. He covets Count Appiani’s betrothed. Led on by his wicked chamberlain, the prince agrees to Marinelli’s treacherous plot to kill Count Appiani and take Emilia by force. In the end, however, he loses the love of his mistress, Countess Orsina, and is left with only Emilia’s dead body at his feet.
Odoardo Galotti (oh-doh-AHR-doh), Emilia’s father. Unable to protect his daughter from the machinations of Marinelli, he takes her life rather than have her violated by the carnal prince. After stabbing his daughter, he throws the dagger at the prince’s feet and gives himself up to the guards.
Claudia Galotti, Emilia’s mother. Frantic when she and her daughter are abducted while on the way to Emilia’s wedding, she accuses the Marquis Marinelli of plotting Count Appiani’s murder.
The Marquis Marinelli
The Marquis Marinelli (mah-ree-NEHL-lee), Prince Gonzaga’s evil chamberlain. He contrives the treacherous plan to remove Count Appiani so that the prince can seduce Emilia.
Count Appiani (ahp-pee-AH-nee), Emilia’s betrothed. When he refuses to be beguiled into leaving Emilia on the day of their wedding, he is assassinated.
Countess Orsina (ohr-SEE-nah), the prince’s mistress. When he spurns her, she first plans to stab him; instead, she gives the dagger to Odoardo Galotti. Galotti uses this knife to stab his daughter.