Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Ivona Hopit

Ivona Hopit, an ugly and poor Burgundian peasant girl. Ivona is an insolently silent young woman who seldom responds to the words or actions of others. She refuses to bow to the court or to obey any of their commands. Her sluggishness and enigmatic simplicity elicit the interest of Prince Philip and inspire him to propose marriage. Her eyes are expressive, and on the rare occasions when she speaks, her words are few and often mystical. She is at various times arrogant, vulnerable, angry, or sad, and the prince and the royal court take pains to provoke or interpret her. Ultimately, they all feel threatened in some way and plot her murder. Ivona dies choking on a fish bone at a betrothal banquet in her honor.


Philip, the prince of Burgundia, a troubled and sensitive young man who is restless in his position as heir to the throne and reluctant to accept a conventional, political marriage. Ivona’s simplicity attracts his interest: He believes that his richness entitles him to take on her misery, and he decides to make her his princess. He generally speaks honestly and guilelessly but is subject to sharp mood changes. He initially sees Ivona as a heroic challenge who will help him to realize his princely potential, but then he is amazed and intimidated when she grows to love him. He at first delights in the scandal his betrothal precipitates but later becomes touchy and paranoid about the laughter and gossip of the court ladies. He uses his power and the eerie power of Ivona’s weakness and silence to taunt and manipulate his parents and the court. Prince Philip is capable of extremes of both vulnerability...

(The entire section is 683 words.)