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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 259

The principal characters of The Family of Pascual Duarte are:

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--Pascual. He is a man from the Spanish countryside, the province of Badajoz not far from the Portuguese border. The story unfolds as a confession Pascual has written while awaiting execution for his crimes. He tells us at the start that he "is not a bad person," and seems to attribute his criminal behavior to destiny.

--Esteban Duarte Diniz, Pascual's father. He is a cruel, ignorant man, abusive to both his wife and to Pascual.

--Pascual's mother. She is cold and abusive as well, and has few, if any, positive qualities.

--Señor Rafael, Pascual's mother's lover.

--Señora Engracia, the village midwife.

--Mario, Pascual's brother who dies as a child.

--Rosario, Pascual's sister, who becomes a sex worker.

--Paco Lopez, also known as El Estirao, or "Stretch" (in Anthony Kerrigan's translation.) He is Rosario's boyfriend and procurer.

--Lola, Pascual's wife. She miscarries Pascual's first child, and the second dies at the age of eleven months. Later, she is going to have a child by Paco Lopez, and when at the moment she confesses this to Pascual, she drops dead in his arms. Pascual then kills The Stretch in a knife fight.

--Don Conrado, governor of the prison, who is sympathetic to Pascual during his first incarceration.

--Don Joaquin Barrera, the man to whom Pascual has directed his confession or memoir.

--The Transcriber, who happened to find Pascual's memoir in a pharmacy in Almendralejo, the town which Pascual has described as located about two leagues from his home village.

Characters Discussed

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 751

Pascual Duarte

Pascual Duarte (pahs-KWAHL DWAR-teh), a peasant of Extremadura, Spain, who has a murderous destiny. He tries to alleviate the tensions and hostility of his life by acts of ferocity. His first acts of violence—the killing of animals, tavern fights, and even the murder of his wife’s lover, El Estirao—seem to occur spontaneously in moments of rage, but the murder of his mother is premeditated. He also shoots his grandmother and may be responsible for the death of the village patriarch, Don Jesús González de la Riva, during an uprising at the start of the Spanish Civil War. His life story, written as he awaits execution, is an attempt at least to explain, if not to justify, his cruelty. He claims to have made his peace with God and humanity and is ready to die, but his end is as ignominious as his life. His courage fails him, and he must be dragged to the scaffold, crying out that no one has the right to judge him.

Pascual’s mother

Pascual’s mother, whose name is not given. A drunkard, slovenly and illiterate, she is the devil incarnate in her son’s eyes. Pascual is accustomed to her constant belittlement and scorn of him. It is her cruelty toward her handicapped young son Mario, Pascual’s brother, that serves as the catalyst for Pascual’s growing resentment and hate. These emotions and her treatment of his second wife finally incite him to murder.


Rosario (roh-SAHR-ee-oh), Pascual’s beautiful younger sister, who is the only softening influence in the family. She is adored by her parents and by Pascual. Their lives are shattered when she runs away and becomes a prostitute. She returns home, ill with fever, and almost dies. The family nurses her back to health, but she soon leaves again, unable to break away from her abusive relationship with El Estirao, a pimp. Rosario is the only one who seems to have genuine affection for Pascual. When he returns home after serving his sentence for killing El Estirao, he finds Rosario gone. This loss leads him to his final condemnation.


Mario, Pascual’s handicapped little brother. Retarded, unable to walk, and unloved and scorned by his...

(The entire section contains 1010 words.)

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