Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Vittoria Corombona (veet-TOH-ree-ah koh-rohm-BOH-nah), the brilliant and beautiful wife of an elderly Florentine official. She becomes the mistress and later the bride of Paulo Giordano Ursini, the duke of Brachiano. She is a woman of tremendous courage and willpower and makes an eloquent and impassioned defense of her honor against the malicious but essentially just accusations of Duke Francisco de Medicis and Cardinal Monticelso. She dies with the same intensity with which she lived, refusing to weep but recognizing in her last moments the depths to which her career has brought her: “My soul, like to a ship in a black storm, is driven, I know not whither.”
Flamineo (flah-MEE-nee-oh), her brother, an ironic commentator on his own life and the society in which he moves. He strives for worldly success without scruple, playing pander for his sister, murdering her husband to win favor with his master, Duke Brachiano, and finally killing his own brother in a hasty quarrel. There are in him, however, lingering traces of humanity that make him compassionate at the sight of his mother beside the body of Marcello. He remains an opportunist to the end and dies with an ironic jest on his lips.
The duke of Brachiano
The duke of Brachiano (brah-
(The entire section is 754 words.)
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Duke of Bracciano
The Duke of Bracciano, otherwise known as Paulo Giordano Orsini, is a very powerful nobleman. He is married to the lady Isabella, but is infatuated with Vittoria Corombona. Indeed, it is his lust for Vittoria that sets all of the tragic events of this play in motion. Bracciano colludes with Flamineo to set up a tryst with Vittoria. Later, Bracciano legally separates from his wife and plots to kill both Isabella and Camillo, Vittoria’s husband. After the murders, he proves himself not a very reliable lover. On the strength of a fabricated letter sent by Francisco to Vittoria, Bracciano accuses her of infidelity. Only after Vittoria manages to convince him of the falsehood of the love letter does he help her escape from her prison and take her to Padua. On the day of their wedding, Bracciano competes in a tournament. He is then murdered by Ludovico who puts poison in his helmet. The character of Bracciano has few, if any, redeeming characteristics. He is motivated by lust, is cruel to his wife and his lover, and is murderous to those who cross him.
Camillo is Vittoria’s first husband. He is also a cousin to the Cardinal Monticelso. Camillo is portrayed as a weak, older, impotent man. He tells both Bracciano and Flamineo that it has been a very long time since he has been in bed with his wife. In short, Camillo is the stereotypical cuckold of Renaissance theatre. As the result of a plot between Flamineo...
(The entire section is 1299 words.)