Study Guide

Gerusalemme Liberata

by Torquato Tasso

Gerusalemme Liberata Characters

Characters

Aladine
Aladine is the commander of the Saracen army in Jerusalem. His position mirrors Godfrey's in that he does not do that much fighting, leaving it to Clorinda, Solymon, and Argantes. He is killed by Tancred.

Argantes
Argantes is the Saracen second in command. He challenges the Christian knights to single combat and defeats most of them. He almost kills Tancred, which spells certain doom for the Christians. However, Tancred rises from his sickbed, rallies the Christians, kills Argantes, and saves the day.

Armida
She is the witch of the poem. Summoned by Satan to seduce and destroy Godfrey, Armida eventually seduces and captures over 30 knights including Rinaldo and Tancred. The majority of her captives escape or are rescued, but Rinaldo has fallen in love with her and she with him. On her island paradise in the Atlantic Ocean, Armida and Rinaldo spend much of the poem living in love. After Rinaldo is "rescued," Armida swears revenge, even offering a reward to any Saracen knight that brings her Rinaldo's head. After the battle, she realizes that Rinaldo still loves her and she accepts both her conversion to Christianity and his offer of marriage. Although Tasso is not exactly clear about her use of sexuality, most English translators suggest that while she uses her sexuality to kidnap men, she only consummates the act with Rinaldo, thus making her an acceptable wife for him.

Clorinda
Clorinda is the Princess of Damascus, an Amazon, and the most pivotal character in the poem. She is the leader of the Saracen attack forces and is a ruthless fighter. She is a brilliant military strategist as well as a tough woman. As long as she is alive, the Christians cannot hope to take Jerusalem. Several Christian heroes fall to Clorinda's sword, as well as most of their battle plans. She manages to destroy all of Godfrey's wooden siege equipment, which almost spells defeat for the Franks, and would have continued to reduce his army, but she is killed by the man who desperately loves her. Tancred does not realize that he has killed Clorinda until it is too late. He baptizes her as she lies dying and then loses his mind. Clorinda allows the baptism because she found out that she was born a Christian, but raised a Saracen. However, this knowledge does not change her dedication to the Turkish cause nor her loyalty to the Saracen king of Jerusalem. It is only after her death that Godfrey can gather his forces and defeat the Saracens.

Emiren
Emiren is the Saracen king of Jerusalem. He is killed by Godfrey.

Erminia
Erminia is the niece of the King of Antioch, who knows the Christian knights because they destroyed her city and killed her father and uncle before the poem opens. She tells the Saracen king...

(The entire section is 1152 words.)