Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Beatrice-Joanna (beh-ah-TREES-hoh-AHN-yah), the beautiful daughter of Vermandero, a wealthy government official. Her sudden infatuation for Alsemero, a handsome Spaniard, precipitates her rapid moral degeneration, which culminates in the grotesque irony of her wedding night: She spends it with De Flores, a man whom she loathes, while her servant enjoys the husband for whom she entered on her career of deceit and murder. She proceeds boldly in her villainy and professes love she does not feel to procure De Flores’ help in the murder of her fiancé, Alonzo. She is so completely unaware of the implications of what she is doing that she is almost stunned when De Flores demands the fruits of this feigned love as his payment. Dying of the wounds he has inflicted on her, she wonders at the evil influence this strange lover has exerted over her, drawing her into his power in spite of her intense loathing of him.

De Flores

De Flores (FLOH-rehs), her strange partner in crime, Vermandero’s servant. His life revolves around a single obsession, his passion for this young woman who shows him nothing but scorn and loathing. Although he is not convinced of the sincerity of Beatrice-Joanna’s blandishments, he sees in her request for help the means to satisfy his desire. Her wishes are, for him, sufficient justification for all of his crimes, and he dies defying the hell into which he has brought himself, satisfied by the few moments when he possessed her.


Vermandero (vehr-mahn-DEH-roh), Beatrice-Joanna’s father, the governor of the castle of Alicante. Although...

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