Camiola (ka-mee-OH-lah), the “Maid of Honour.” Although she is deeply in love with Bertoldo, she refuses to marry him because of his vow of celibacy as a Knight of Malta. In spite of his faithlessness in accepting the love of Aurelia, Camiola forgives him, ransoms him, and wins him back to his knightly vows. She herself weds the church as a nun.
Roberto (roh-BEHR-toh), the king of Sicily. He is a just, reasonable, and peaceful monarch but is unwisely overindulgent to his evil favorite, Fulgentio. Camiola finally persuades him to renounce Fulgentio.
Bertoldo (behr-TOHL-doh), the half brother of the king. Eager for glory in battle, he disregards the king’s wishes and joins Duke Ferdinand in an unjust war on Siena. After being captured, he accepts the love of his captor, Duchess Aurelia, moved more by ambition than by desire. Shame heaped on him by Camiola leads to his repentance.
Fulgentio (fewl-JEHN-tee-oh), the king’s unworthy favorite. Arrogant, selfish, and unprincipled, he first tries to force Camiola to marry him, then tries to blacken her name. For this he is banished.
Sylli (SEE-lee), an absurd suitor for Camiola’s hand. He is convinced that she loves him to distraction until the moment that she announces her entrance into the convent.
Adorni (ah-DOHR-nee), a faithful, self-sacrificing youth in love with Camiola. Although he fails to win her, she endows him with a large fortune when she renounces the world.
Ferdinand, the duke of Urbin. Angry at being rejected by Aurelia, he attacks her land and suffers defeat.
Aurelia (oh-REE-lee-ah), the duchess of Siena. A proud and passionate woman, she conceives a violent infatuation for her prisoner Bertoldo.
Gonzaga (gohn-ZAH-gah), the Sienese general, a Knight of Malta. Recognizing his prisoner Bertoldo as a Knight of Malta fighting in an unjust cause, he degrades him and dismisses him from the order.
Astutio (ahs-TEWT-ee-oh), an ambassador to Siena from King Roberto.