Because Aura is essentially a modern gothic romance, the characters of the story are not intended to be realistic, but rather representative. They are psychic archetypes in a parable of youth, love, age, and imagination. Montero is the fairy-tale protagonist who is magically summoned to fulfill old Consuelo’s desire—to recapture not only her own past, but also the past of her husband and of their love. Consuelo herself is one of Fuentes’s witchlike women with the magical power of imaginative creation. The headnote to the novel, from Jules Michelet, emphasizes the power of female imaginative creation embodied in the story: “Man hunts and struggles. Woman intrigues and dreams; she is the mother of fantasy, the mother of the gods. She has second sight, the wings that enable her to fly to the infinite of desire and the imagination.” Aura is a self-created image of Consuelo, an imaginative projection of her own youth.
Essentially there are only two characters in the story: Aura/Consuelo and Montero/ General Llorente, and neither is so much a character in the conventional sense of the term as an embodiment of an archetype—the former embodying Carl Jung’s anima, or archetypal female, the latter the questing male figure who yearns to unite with, and know the secret of, the mysterious woman. Montero is drawn out of the world of external reality and into the unconscious world of the imagination and thus becomes one with the occult reality of Aura/Consuelo. This basic nature of the characters explains the mysterious blend of the occult and the erotic which dominates the story. The same character configuration and the same union of the sexual and the supernatural can be seen in the works of Henry James, Edgar Allan Poe, Alexander Pushkin, and Sir H. Rider Haggard. The basic dichotomy between the male and the female principle which Aura embodies is that whereas man hunts and struggles in the profane world of everyday reality, always questing for the answers to metaphysical mysteries, woman is the passive dreamer, the creator, who achieves the fulfillment of her desires by imaginative creation.