The Gondoliers

by W. S. Gilbert

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Characters Discussed

The duke of Plaza-Toro

The duke of Plaza-Toro, a grandee of Spain. The duke, who always led his regiment from behind, except when it retreated, is eager to place his daughter on the throne of Barataria and to feather his own nest as much as possible.

The duchess of Plaza-Toro

The duchess of Plaza-Toro, his formidable wife.


Casilda (kah-SEEL-dah), their daughter, married in infancy to the royal heir of Barataria. She is in love with Luiz.

Don Alhambra del Bolero

Don Alhambra del Bolero (ahl-AHM-brah dehl boh-LEH-roh), the grand inquisitor of Spain. He is searching for the royal heir, whom he had stolen in infancy and left with a tippling gondolier to rear with his own son. The gondolier could not remember which of the two boys was his own son and which the prince. The Inquisitor decides to torture their former nurse to find out which is which.

Marco Palmieri

Marco Palmieri (pahl-MEE-eh-ree) and

Giuseppe Palmieri

Giuseppe Palmieri (jee-ew-SEHP-pee), gondoliers with republican principles. Each being half a king until the truth can be discovered, they promote everybody in the kingdom to a lord high something-or-other, to the inquisitor’s disgust. They are separated from their recent brides and told that one is an unwitting bigamist.


Gianetta (jee-ahn-NAYT-tah) and


Tessa, flower girls, wives of Marco and Giuseppe.


Luiz (lew-EES), Casilda’s lover and the duke’s attendant, who carries a drum to beat before the duke. He turns out to be the real king of Barataria.


Inez (ee-NEHS), an elderly nurse. She is readily persuaded by torture to confess that Luiz is the king of Barataria, for whom she had substituted her own son, actually the child stolen by the grand inquisitor. Her testimony reunites Luiz and Casilda and the gondoliers and their brides.

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