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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 267

The characters of Colomba by Prosper Mérimée include the titular character, Colomba herself. She is the sister of a lieutenant in Napoleon's army, Orso della Rebbia. Though she is a provincial Corsican and comparatively uneducated, she is described as "fair" and demonstrates a keen affinity for poetry when exposed to Dante by her brother's Irish friends. She is the most vengeful character and is strongly committed to avenging her father's death (which took place before the events of the novel).

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Orso della Rebbia is very handsome, and he is charming enough to win the admiration of his fellow travelers on a boat to Corsica: Colonel Thomas Nevil, who was a distinguished officer in Napoleon's army, and his daughter, Lydia. Lydia greatly admires Orso and tries to deter him from exacting village justice on his father's alleged murderer, Barricini. Orso ultimately kills Barricini's two sons, though accidentally, during an ambush.

Vincentello and Orlanduccio are the Lawyer Barricini's two sons. Tipped off by a fellow prisoner of the accused, Colomba—and eventually Orso—strongly suspects that her father was killed by theirs.

"Miss" Lydia Nevil is charming and engaging. She travels to Corsica with her father as a result of being unimpressed by Italy. At the end of the novel, she is married to Orso and living in Italy.

Colonel Thomas Nevil is a distinguished Irish officer, and he is Lydia's father. He is impressed by Orso's bravery and reputation, though he himself fought on the opposite side during the famous Battle of Waterloo. He quickly befriends Orso en route to Corisca, where he intends to hunt.


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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 219

Characters Discussed

Colomba della Rebbia

Colomba della Rebbia (koh-LOHM-bah dehl-lah REHB-bee-ah), who demands the death of her family’s blood enemy, Barricini, for the murder of her father. She considers the evidence of his innocence faked. She vainly tries to rouse her brother to murder him. Later, she learns from the broken Barricini that he had indeed faked the proof of his innocence. She feels no sympathy for him in his adversity; instead, she finds satisfaction in the belief that her father’s blood is thus avenged.

Lieutenant Orso della Rebbia

Lieutenant Orso della Rebbia, of Napoleon’s army, Colomba’s brother. He refuses to murder Barricini as his sister demands. He is accused of murdering two sons of Barricini, but he is cleared when Colonel Nevil testifies that the sons first ambushed Orso. He marries Lydia.

Lawyer Barricini

Lawyer Barricini (bahr-ree-CHEE-nee), the mayor of the village and the suspected murderer of Orso’s father.

Two sons of Barricini

Two sons of Barricini, who ambush Orso but are shot by him.

Colonel Sir Thomas Nevil

Colonel Sir Thomas Nevil, an Irish officer who has come to Corsica to hunt. He testifies that Orso’s shooting of Barricini’s sons was in self-defense.

Lydia Nevil

Lydia Nevil, his daughter, who wants to leave the settlement of crime to the law.

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