Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 750
Donna Livia Palegari
Donna Livia Palegari (LEE-vee-ah pah-leh-GAH-ree), an elderly woman. A mouthpiece of conventional morality and behavior, Donna Livia is a caricature of ignorant self-righteousness. She is outraged because her son defended the infamous Delia Morello in an argument, for she fears he may have fallen in love with a woman of such ill repute. Oblivious to the complexities of human motivation presented by the situation at hand, Donna Livia (and thus the decorum she represents) appears ridiculous and meaningless.
Diego Cinci (dee-AH-goh CHEEN-chee), a young friend of Doro Palegari. Diego’s perspective, revealed in lengthy speeches, seems to be the one closest to that developed by the play itself. Tolerant of multiple viewpoints and positions, Diego defends Doro Palegari’s actions to Donna Livia and attempts to show the others the problematic nature of human behavior and the absurdity of human action.
Doro Palegari (DOH-roh), the son of Donna Livia. Doro, in support of the notorious Delia Morello, argues with Francesco Savio, who conceives of Delia as a self-serving femme fatale. On meeting Delia, who accepts both Palegari’s and Savio’s interpretations of her story, Doro changes his position. Unfortunately, Savio also alters his point of view, so that the characters are again at odds with each other. They decide to settle their differences in a duel.
Delia Morello (deh-LEE-ah moh-REH-loh), an elegantly dressed young woman with a questionable past and reputation. Delia represents the complex, contradictory nature of human identity and reality. Delia left her lover, artist Giorgio Salvi, to run away with Michele Rocca, his sister’s fiancé. Following her departure, Salvi committed suicide. Her former lover, a Russian, also killed himself. The subject of Delia’s character becomes a matter of interpretation, even for Delia herself. According to Doro’s narrative, she is a victim who acted any way she could in a difficult situation, but in the eyes of others she is a manipulative, selfish woman who acted with malice in a sadistic plan to destroy a sensitive artist. Delia sincerely agrees with each story, perceiving the truth of her self and her situation in both. Finally, she is offered a new explanation: She did it all out of an irresistible love for Michele Rocca. Accepting this reality, she rushes into Rocca’s arms.
Francesco Savio (frahn-CHEHS-koh SAH-vee-oh), the opponent of Doro Palegari. Savio disputes Palegari’s valiant justification of Delia’s actions, only to change his opinion, praising the generosity of Doro’s defense and asking for Doro’s forgiveness. Now on the reverse sides of the argument, Savio and Palegari agree to duel. Their fighting seems ridiculous, however, for they can change their minds on the issue with the least provocation. In fact, there appears to be no one true, or absolute, interpretation of Delia’s motivation.
Michele Rocca (ROHK-kah), the man who ran away with Delia, who was the lover of his fiancé’s brother. About thirty years old, with dark hair and complexion, Rocca fits the stereotype of the passionate, angry lover. At first, he insists that he abhors the “treacherous” Delia. Moreover, he claims to have stolen her from Salvi for the artist’s own good, to prove Delia’s lack of virtue. Nevertheless, he is easily convinced that his actions were really prompted by a deep, unrealized love for Delia.
Prestino (prehs-TEE-noh), a friend of Francesco Savio. Prestino, along with other companions, supports Savio in his upcoming duel, which is thwarted by the union of Delia Morello and Michele Rocca.
Delia Moreno (moh-REH-noh), the “real life” counterpart to Delia Morello. Appearing in the theater lobby during the choral interlude, this character is the supposed “real life” Delia who angrily protests the playwright’s onstage depiction of her life. Like the “fictional” Delia, Delia Moreno also falls for her Michele Rocca, Baron Nuti, reenacting the play’s ending.
Baron Nuti (NEW-tee), a parallel character to Michele Rocca. Like Rocca, Nuti proclaims his desire for Delia Moreno during the final choral interlude.
Stage manager, a theater employee.
Leading lady, the actress who plays Delia Morello in the play.
Five drama critics
Five drama critics,
a would-be literary figure
a would-be literary figure, and
Spectators, who support or oppose Pirandello. All are characters who appear in the choral interludes, commenting on, criticizing, and interpreting the play, thus further blurring the boundaries between illusion and reality, representation and life.
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