Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

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Pedro Sarmiento

Pedro Sarmiento (sahr-mee-EHN-toh), nicknamed Periquillo (peh-ree-KEE-yoh), meaning “The Itching Parrot,” the young rogue protagonist of Spanish America’s first novel. As the son of upper middle-class people of Mexico City, he seeks the easiest way of earning a living. A monk’s life is too exhausting. He tries other professions: barber, physician, apothecary, beggar, and finally secretary to a colonel in Manila. Finally, a schoolmate, now a priest, turns him to a prosperous, honest life, resulting in Pedro’s marriage and respectability.

Señor Sarmiento

Señor Sarmiento, Pedro’s father, who wants Pedro to become a tradesman.

Señora Sarmiento

Señora Sarmiento, who, wanting her son to be a priest, dies of grief at his many vices.


Januario (hahn-eew-AHR-ree-oh), a schoolmate who makes a fool of Pedro for his attentions to Januario’s cousin, with whom Januario himself is infatuated.

Don Antonio

Don Antonio, a good man, unjustly jailed, who helps Pedro. Later, Pedro finds him destitute and aids him.

The Daughter of Don Antonio

The Daughter of Don Antonio, who becomes the wife of the reformed Pedro.

A Scrivener

A Scrivener, who arranges Pedro’s release from jail so that he may serve as the scrivener’s secretary.