Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Manfred, a magician who summons the spirits of the universe, asking them for knowledge and oblivion. Although he contemplates suicide, mourning his limited powers, he is saved by a chamois hunter. He continues to raise other spirits and refuses the help of the church. Because he does not give his loyalty to the church or the powers of evil, he dies conquered by nothing but death.
The Spirit of Air
The Spirit of Air, who asks Manfred what he wants to forget, a question the magician cannot answer.
The Spirit of Interior Fire
The Spirit of Interior Fire,
the Spirit of Ocean
the Spirit of Ocean,
the Spirit of Earth
the Spirit of Earth,
the Spirit of Exterior Fire
the Spirit of Exterior Fire, and
the Spirit of Night
the Spirit of Night, spirits summoned by Manfred.
The Spirit of Manfred’s Destiny
The Spirit of Manfred’s Destiny, summoned by Manfred. It takes on the bodily shape of a beautiful woman who eludes the magician’s embrace.
The Chamois Hunter
The Chamois Hunter, who saves Manfred from death. Seeing Manfred preparing to leap to his death on the Jungfrau Mountain, the hunter prevents the suicide. He feels sorry for Manfred but cannot help the magician solve his problems.
The Witch of the Alps
The Witch of the Alps, summoned by Manfred. She offers to share the beauties of nature with the magician and to aid him, if he agrees to obey her. She departs when Manfred refuses.
The Abbot of St. Maurice
The Abbot of St. Maurice, who tries to save Manfred’s soul for God but fails.
Astarte, whom Manfred has wronged. She is summoned from her tomb at Manfred’s request by spirits in the Hall of Arimanes. She prophesies that his despair will end the next day. Death fulfills her prophecy.