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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 343

Conrad: Fifteen-year-old Conrad makes the briefest of appearances. He is crushed on his way to marry Isabella by the improbable—and some have argued comic—event of a giant helmet falling from the statue of Alfonso and landing on him. His role is brief but important for setting the plot of the novel in motion. Jerome explains that the death was a fulfillment of prophecy, enraging Manfred.

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Manfred: The evil Manfred, lord of castle of Otranto, became a prototype for the Gothic anti-hero. Becoming obsessed with idea of needing an heir, he abuses his patriarchal power to try to achieve his goal. He is not innately evil but becomes a cruel tyrant who will stop at nothing to marry Isabella, his son's former betrothed, who definitely does not want to be his wife. In many ways, Manfred is modeled on King Henry VIII, who divorced his first wife because he feared that their being related blocked him from having a male heir. Manfred is not really related to Hippolita, but that doesn't stop him from clinging to the theory.

Hippolita: Hippolita is Manfred's wife and the mother of Conrad and Matilda. She is a submissive woman who bears her husband's tyrannies.

Matilda: Matilda is pure and an object of lust in the story. Frederic, who is old enough to be her father, wants to marry her. She is morally good and forgives her father for accidentally stabbing her, even though he never loved her.

Frederic: Frederic is the father of Isabella. He enters into a deal with Manfred to help Manfred marry Isabella in return for Matilda's hand.

Isabella: Another pure young woman, she resists marrying the lustful and cruel Manfred—who can blame her?

Jerome: Jerome is a friar whose help Manfred seeks in implementing his marriage schemes. He is Theodore's father.

Theodore: Theodore is the love object of both Isabella and Matilda. He is a good young man who helps the imprisoned Isabella after himself being imprisoned by Manfred. He and Isabella end up marrying, and he becomes lord of Otranto.

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 363


Manfred, the prince of Otranto, a usurper. After Manfred’s son is mysteriously killed on his wedding day, Manfred plans to divorce his wife and marry the promised bride himself. After much frightening supernatural intervention, Manfred surrenders his claims to Otranto; he and his wife then enter neighboring convents.


Conrad, the fifteen-year-old son of Manfred. On his wedding day, he is found crushed to death beneath a gigantic helmet.


Isabella, the daughter of the Marquis of Vicenza and the fiancée of Conrad. Manfred plans to marry her after Conrad’s death, but she escapes him with the aid of the true heir to...

(The entire section contains 706 words.)

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