Eugenia Rague (eh-ew-HEHN-ee-ah RRAH-geh), a highly respected woman in the society of Buenos Aires. She achieved her position by being very rich rather than by aristocratic birth. She looks down upon all who are beneath her class but also resents authentic aristocrats. She acquires paintings and sculptures as a means of acquiring the admiration of members of high society. She is puritan almost to the point of fanaticism, incapable of pardoning human weaknesses, domineering, and ambitious; the role she plays in her family is more that of tyrant than that of matriarch. She does not worry about Marta, whom she believes she is able to control, but she feels doubts about Brenda, whom she considers weak and unpredictable.
Marta Rague, Eugenia’s twenty-seven-year-old daughter. She has traveled extensively, visited the most renowned museums, heard the most famous musicians in concert, and loved intensely, giving herself to those whom she thought were seeking pleasures beyond the mere physical. These activities have left her bored and fatigued.
Lintas (LEEN-tahs), a painter whom Eugenia Rague met at an exhibition. She invites him to her fiesta to get his opinion on the authenticity of three paintings. The painter informs her that the paintings are fakes. During dinner, Marta and Lintas exchange glances that leave both intrigued. Later, after dancing and chatting, they realize that both of them belong to a complex world, full of conflicts, far removed from the fatuous reality that they are living at that instant. After conversing for many hours about life, society, reality, love, and hate, Marta bids farewell to Lintas. She has undergone a transformation: In place of disillusion and boredom, she feels a desire to serve.
Brenda Rague, Eugenia’s younger daughter. She leads her own life. As a consequence of her adventures, she has had two abortions, unknown to her mother.
The poet, whose story runs parallel with the overall plot. The nameless character symbolizes those persecuted by association. He has read books prohibited by the regime, has family ties with an executed revolutionary, and has seen innocent people assassinated. He is taken away from his home, beaten, and finally riddled with bullets by a patrol.