Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Pelléas (pay-lay-AHS), the grandson of King Arkël and much younger half brother of Golaud. Although his father lies gravely ill in the castle, Pelléas wishes to journey far away to a dying friend. He stays to welcome Golaud and his childlike bride, Mélisande. He shows Mélisande around the castle’s environs. One night, as she is leaning out of a tower, he tangles her long hair in a tree so she cannot escape him; Golaud finds them this way. Golaud tells him that Mélisande is pregnant, so Pelléas resolves again to go away, but only after he tells her of his love. They meet at the Fountain of the Blind and declare their love. They suddenly notice Golaud watching from the shadows. In despair, they kiss passionately as Golaud rushes forward with his sword and strikes down Pelléas.


Mélisande (may-lee-ZAHND), a mysterious, childlike maiden whom Golaud discovers lost and weeping in a dark forest; she has dropped a golden crown in the water. Though frightened, she follows Golaud. Some time later, she and Golaud have married and arrive at his grandfather Arkël’s castle. While accompanied by Pelléas, Mélisande loses her wedding ring in the bottomless Fountain of the Blind. She pretends to look for it in a dangerous cave by the sea. Golaud becomes increasingly jealous and suspicious after he finds Pelléas entwined in her hair by the tower. In front of Arkël, Golaud berates her and drags her around the floor by her long hair. She concludes that he no longer loves her. She and Pelléas declare their love shortly before Golaud kills Pelléas. She flees. Slightly wounded by Golaud, she forgives him, denies that she had a guilty love for Pelléas, and dies, after...

(The entire section is 731 words.)