Flaminio Salvo (flah-MEE-nee-oh), a mine owner and capitalist who backs the clerical party candidate in an election for a representative to the Italian Chamber of Deputies. When the workers in his Sicilian mines go on strike, he shuts down the mines in an effort to starve them out.
Dianella Salvo (dee-ah-NEHL-loh), Salvo’s daughter, who is in love with Salvo’s mine superintendent, Aurelio Costa. Salvo refuses to permit their marriage because Costa has no money. When Costa is murdered by a mob, Dianella goes mad and has to be locked up.
Mauro Mortara (MAH-ew-roh mohr-tah-rah), one of Garibaldi’s followers, who is now an old man. He cannot understand why his old comrades must fight among themselves or why, after his generation fought for peace and freedom, there still seems to be neither. He is shot by troops firing on a crowd.
Prince Ippolito Laurentano
Prince Ippolito Laurentano (eep-poh-LEE-toh low-rehn-TAH-noh), an old Garibaldist leader to whom Salvo is trying to marry his sister. He is still very much a royalist and loyal to the church. He lives in a world of his own on his estate in Sicily.
Prince Gerlando Laurentano
Prince Gerlando Laurentano (gehr-LAHN-doh), Ippolito Laurentano’s son and a Socialist organizer. His position as a Socialist is embarrassing and incomprehensible to his family’s friends. He is horrified by the conditions among the strikers in Salvo’s mines.
Capolino (kah-poh-LEE-noh), the clerical party candidate whom Salvo is backing in the election.
Roberto Auriti (ah-ew-REE-tee), the man against whom Capolino is running in the election. Auriti is wrongly imprisoned for the misappropriation of government funds. He is Gerlando Laurentano’s cousin.
Aurelio Costa (ah-ew-REH-lee-oh KOHS-tah), Salvo’s mine superintendent, whom Dianella loves. When Costa learns that he cannot marry Dianella, he returns to the mines to join with the strikers. He is killed by the mob before he can explain why he is there.
Nicoletta Capolino (nee-koh-LEHT-tah), Capolino’s wife, who attaches herself to the man who really misappropriated the government funds.
Corrado Selmi (kohr-RAH-doh SEHL-mee), the man who actually misappropriated the funds, the act for which Auriti is imprisoned.