The Characters

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

The characters in Coronation may be classified as those who experience inner anguish and undergo a significant change, and those who represent a prototype and serve to enhance the definition of the principal characters. The protagonist, Andrés Abalos, embodies the emasculated figure so prevalent in Donoso’s work, who, aware of his inability to exert power over his life, translates that lack into a search for existential meaning and the creation of a fictional world to alleviate his suffering. Andrés is driven by two obsessions, sexuality and death. He fears both because they constitute an unattainable escape. The rebirth of his dormant sensuality together with the overriding morbidity of his grandmother’s house drive him to seek refuge in his fantasy world of Omsk. Here he finds a faith in the harmony of life that he knows to be an impossibility for him. Unable to express his feelings or have them understood, Andrés escapes into a fulfilling madness.

The secondary characters of Mario and Misiá Elisa find justification in the novel as foils for the protagonist, Andrés. Like Andrés, Mario is oppressed by the social determinism that threatens to thwart his dreams. Mario, the Don Juan of his circle of friends, falls in love with Estela, only to find that the idyllic encounter leads to entrapment when she becomes pregnant and he loses his job. Mario acts on the desire that Andrés represses, yet he, too, finds reality unsatisfactory.


(The entire section is 440 words.)

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Andrés Abalos

Andrés Abalos (ahn-DREHS ah-BAH-lohs), the middle-aged, neurotic heir of a proud Chilean family now in decline. Rich and free of any strong familial ties or occupational obligations, he devotes himself to the reading of French history, his collection of walking sticks, and the avoidance of any type of emotional entanglement or commitment. His complacency changes to panic when he realizes that, after his grandmother’s death, he will be left entirely alone, without any links to the past and no promise for the future. This psychological crisis is exacerbated by his growing obsession with the servant girl Estela, whom he sees as a symbol of youth and hope. His final humiliation at her hands leads him to accept madness as the only escape from a sordid, meaningless world.

Misiá Elisa Grey de Abalos

Misiá Elisa Grey de Abalos (mee-see-AH eh-LEE-sah greh), Andrés’ regal nonagenarian grandmother. Once known for her beauty and modesty, she now poisons the atmosphere of her household with the obscene delusions of her madness. Her sexual taunts and accusations insidiously compel Andrés to admit his attraction for Estela.


Estela (ehs-TEH-lah), a young peasant girl who is taken from her family to be the companion and nursemaid to Misiá Elisa. At first, submissive and uncomplaining, Estela seems overwhelmed by...

(The entire section is 635 words.)