Last Updated on September 6, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 324
The Demon is a mysterious, unnamed figure who manifests as a human man in order to claim Tamara. He resembles Satan in that he was cast out of heaven. Rather than hoping to re-enter heaven, he becomes obsessed with mortal pleasures, such as love. Making Tamara the object of his desires, he tries his utmost to seduce her and thereby possess her soul along with her body. Despite his evil intents, he has sympathetic aspects, especially his alienation from society and his sufferings after having been rejected from heaven.
Tamara, the heroine, is a beautiful Caucasian princess. Her father, Prince Goudal, is a bandit chief. Her purity and joy in life compliment her lovely features. The plot follows Tamara from the eve of her wedding, through her fiancé’s death, to her decision to join a religious order, and, finally, to the Demon's attempted temptation of her. The Demon uses his handsome appearance, pitiful situation, and claims of repentance to seduce Tamara. Her decision to enter the convent occurs in part to escape his unnatural power, but he pursues her even there. Although their love is not consummated, the Demon claims she has sinned by loving him. She is ultimately saved, in part because of the guardian angel’s belief in her innocence.
The Guardian Angel
The guardian angel, resisting the Demon’s arguments, ultimately intervenes to save Tamara. He conveys that the Demon has been damned.
Prince Goudal is Tamara’s father. Although he leads a band of robbers, his religious beliefs lead him to support Tamara in entering the convent. After she dies, he builds a church in her honor.
The Young Bridegroom
The young bridegroom is engaged to Tamara. Riding to the wedding, he is distracted by the Demon and fails to follow local religious customs. He is killed while chasing a bandit.
The aged guardian, the convent’s night watchman, serves to record Tamara’s death and its significance.