Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Ignez de Castro

Ignez de Castro (ee-NEHS deh KAH-stroh), the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman. She is beloved by Prince Pedro, the son and heir of King Alfonso. On the death, in childbirth, of Prince Pedro’s wife, Ignez de Castro hopes that, now that her lover is provided with a legitimate heir, their love may be made public, their marriage solemnized, and their four children recognized by their grandfather. Before her hopes can be realized, however, she is murdered by the king’s advisers.

Prince Pedro

Prince Pedro (PEH-droh), the heir of Alfonso IV and the lover of Ignez de Castro. Compelled by his father to marry a princess of Castile, he feels free at her death in childbirth to proclaim his love for Ignez de Castro. He pleads with the king for a state wedding and the recognition of their four children. The king refuses, and when Ignez is killed by the royal advisers, Prince Pedro swears vengeance on all involved in the murder, including his father.

Alfonso IV

Alfonso IV (ahl-FOHN-soh), the king of Portugal and the father of Prince Pedro. In an attempt to put an end to the love of Prince Pedro for the illegitimate Ignez de Castro, he compels his son to marry a princess of Castile, who dies at the birth of a legitimate heir. When his son then begs for a state wedding to Ignez and the recognition of their four children, King Alfonso refuses and permits the murder of Ignez.

Diogo Lopes Pacheco

Diogo Lopes Pacheco (dee-OH-goh LOH-pehs pah-CHEH-koh),

Pero Coelho

Pero Coelho (PEH-roh koh-EHL-hoh), and


Gonzalves (gohn-SAHL-vehs), advisers to King Alfonso and the murderers of Ignez de Castro.


(Great Characters in Literature)

Bell, Aubrey F. G. Portuguese Literature. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1922. Ignez de Castro is discussed in the context of sixteenth century Portuguese plays imitative of classical drama. Describes Ferreira as a competent craftsman but not at his best as a dramatist; his poetry receives greater praise in another section of the study.

Earle, T. F. The Muse Reborn: The Poetry of António Ferreira. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1988. A book-length study of Ferreira’s literary art. Offers brief remarks on Ignez de Castro, highlighting Ferreira’s debt to classical sources; the analysis of Ferreira’s techniques of imitation in his poetry offer insight into similar methodology in his drama.

Friederich, Werner. Outline of Comparative Literature from Dante Alighieri to Eugene O’Neill. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1954. Places Ferreira in the context of Portuguese and European writers of the sixteenth century. Discusses his version of Ignez de Castro as one of several works that retell the story of the legendary heroine.

Sismondi, Simonde de. Historical View of the Literature of the South of Europe. Translated by Thomas Roscoe. London: Henry Bohn, 1846. Considers Ferreira a greater dramatist than poet. Careful, detailed analysis of Ignez de Castro, focusing on Ferreira’s development of his heroine and examining his adherence to the classical unities.