Don Fabrizio Corbera
Don Fabrizio Corbera (fah-BREEZ-zee-oh kohr-BEH-rah), the prince of Salina, around whom the novel and its themes revolve. Fabrizio represents the old Sicilian aristocracy, which, as the story begins, is under siege. The Italian Risorgimento, the movement for Italian unity, is about to defeat the Bourbon monarchy that controls Naples and Sicily. By 1870, ten years after the novel’s story begins, Italy is one kingdom, with Rome as its capital. Fabrizio, who is forty-five years old as the story begins, looks on his advancing age and the passing old order of the country with mixed feelings. His personal life is full of disillusionment, but he is aware of the need for political and social compromise. He envies his nephew’s lust for his bride but sadly realizes that the marriage is a financial and social necessity. Through most of his adult life, Fabrizio has been similarly torn between personal disappointment and an attempt to transcend personal preoccupations, and he has studied the stars for answers. Eventually, Fabrizio is able to welcome death as a release. He realizes that life will go on without him and that his concerns with the past essentially have been futile.
Tancredi Falconeri (tahn-KREH-dee fahl-koh-NEH-ree), Fabrizio’s handsome, dashing nephew,...
(The entire section is 498 words.)