Characters

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Last Updated on August 6, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 604

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Don Juan Tenorio is a play written in the 1800s by José Zorrilla. The main characters of the play include those bolded below:

Don Juan Tenorio is the protagonist of the story. At the start of the play, he is a young man with a penchant for excitement and thrill. He is also incredibly charismatic and charming, traits that along with his intelligence, help him to often be cunning and sneaky. These traits are easily displayed early on in the play, as it opens with Don Juan and his friend Don Luis determining who won a bet they previously made. The bet was a challenge to see which of them men could seduce the most women and kill the most men over the course of a year. Don Juan won on both counts.

Upon learning that he has lost the bet, Don Luis' pride is slightly hurt, so he challenges Don Juan once more, telling him to try to seduce a woman who is about to become a nun. Don Juan not only accepts the challenge but also ups it, saying that he will both seduce a future nun before she takes her vows and seduce an engaged woman before she gets married. He boasts that the engaged woman he will seduce will be Don Luis' own fiancé, Doña Ana.

Don Juan himself is engaged at this point, and his future father-in-law, Don Gonzalo, overhears the entire conversation between Don Juan and Don Luis about this new bet. Naturally, he is angered by the conversation, so he immediately calls off his daughter's wedding. Furious and afraid for his daughter, Doña Inés, he takes her to a convent to keep her away from Don Juan. This, however, only serves to allow Don Juan to fulfill both aspects of the bet at once as he sneaks Doña Inés out of the convent and sleeps with her.

At this point, Don Juan realizes he is in love with Doña Inés and tries to convince her father, Don Gonzalo, to allow them to marry. After Don Gonzalo and Don Luis mock Don Juan for his sensitivity, he kills both of them and flees the country, abandoning Doña Inés in the process.

Five years later, Don Juan returns to his home to find out that Doña Inés died of sorrow shortly after her father's murder. Don Juan for once feels remorse and prays for forgiveness to a statue of Doña Inés. As he prays, the statue comes to life and tells Don Juan that she made a deal with God to bind their souls together, meaning the decisions Don Juan makes not only affect his own salvation but will also determine whether Doña Inés is sent to heaven or hell. She tells him his time on earth is limited, and until he dies, she will be waiting in purgatory.

Don Juan then meets two of his old friends, Centellas and Avellaneda, and the three spend the evening drinking and eating together. Avellaneda and Centellas eventually pass out from the drinks, and when they awake, they accuse Don Juan of having drugged their drinks, leading to an argument and a sword fight. Centellas kills Don Juan, and just as his soul is about to be pulled to hell, Doña Inés reaches down from purgatory and saves him. The two are then presumably able to enter heaven together.

In summary, the main characters of Don Juan Tenorio include Don Juan, Don Luis, Don Gonzalo, Doña Inés, Doña Ana, Centellas, and Avellaneda.

Characters Discussed

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 338

Don Juan Tenorio

Don Juan Tenorio (hwahn teh-NOH-ree-oh), a wild young gallant whose life is so devoted to vice that he wagers his friend Mejia that he can perform more evil deeds than Mejia in a year’s time. Don Juan wins the wager but in doing so he ravishes his fiancée, Inés, kills her father, ravishes Mejia’s fiancée, and kills Mejia. Inés dies of grief. Don Juan’s saddened father establishes a cemetery containing statues of his son’s victims. Years later, when Don Juan visits the cemetery, Inés’ statue pleads with him to repent. He hesitates, but her love is so strong that she saves him just as he is about to be dragged off to Hell.

Marcos Ciutti

Marcos Ciutti (see-EW-tee), Don Juan’s villainous servant. He bribes Ana’s duenna to admit his master, and Brigida to carry a note to Inés.

Inés de Ulloa

Inés de Ulloa (ee-NEHS deh ew-YOH-ah), a novice in a convent whom Don Juan hopes to marry. Her appearance to Don Juan after her death persuades him to repent, so that at the end she can save him from Hell’s eternal fire.

Don Luis Mejia

Don Luis Mejia (lew-EES meh-HEE-ah), a gallant of Seville, engaged to Ana and killed seeking revenge for her wrongs from Don Juan.

Don Gonzalo de Ulloa

Don Gonzalo de Ulloa (gohn-ZAH-loh), comendador (knight commander) of Calatrava. His attempt to rescue Inés results in his death.

Don Diego Tenorio

Don Diego Tenorio (dee-EH-goh), who visits a Seville inn to check on his son’s bad reputation. He later establishes a cemetery containing statues of Don Juan’s victims.

Ana de Pantoja

Ana de Pantoja (pahn-TOH-hah), the fiancée of Mejia.

Brigida

Brigida (BRE-hee-dah), the duenna of Inés.

Two officers

Two officers, who witness the discussion of the wager and five years later explain to Don Juan the significance of the cemetery. He invites them and the statue of thecomendador to come to dinner.

Bibliography

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 306

Arias, Judith. “The Devil at Heaven’s Door: Metaphysical Desire in Don Juan Tenorio.” In Hispanic Review 61 (Winter, 1993): 15-34. Analyzes the Romantic drama as a game and deals with the wager underlying the plot. Applies psychological theories of René Girard that show how the character’s behavior is an example of mimetic desire, a desire that in Don Juan is “ultimately metaphysical in nature.”

Feal, Carlos. “Conflicting Names, Conflicting Laws: Zorrilla’s Don Juan Tenorio.” In PMLA 96 (May, 1981): 375-387. Concludes that the work shows evidence of being an improvisation and enjoys an “exaggerated theatricality” because the figure was “a man in need of an audience.” Addresses the myth and compares Zorrilla’s with Tirso’s version.

Firmat, Gustavo Perez. “Carnival in Don Juan Tenorio.” In Hispanic Review 51 (Summer, 1983): 269-281. A structural study that disagrees with the author’s self-criticism of the play. Sees flaws and inconsistencies as “harmonious elements in a coherent, if unusual, design.” Concentrates on the letter motif (delivered in a prayerbook as a form of masking and unmasking) and the play’s reversal of cause-and-effect patterns (metalepsis).

Howe, Elizabeth Teresa. “Hell or Heaven? Providence and Don Juan.” In Renascence 37 (Summer, 1985): 212-219. Discusses the fact that Zorrilla’s Don Juan expects damnation but gets salvation, the reverse of the situation in Tirso. Concludes that Don Juan is the “devil incarnate [and] Satan is a logical extension of the Romantic hero, pursuing self-gratification in defiance of social restraint.”

Mandel, Oscar, ed. The Theatre of Don Juan: A Collection of Plays and Views, 1630-1963. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1963. A full study of the figure of Don Juan, which introduces Zorrilla’s version with a thorough overview of his special treatment. Good for understanding the subsequent parodies, burlesques, and other travesties of the play in Spanish-speaking countries. The introductory essay on the legend is particularly insightful.

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