Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 498
Don Fabrizio Corbera
Don Fabrizio Corbera (fah-BREEZ-zee-oh kohr-BEH-rah), the prince of Salina, around whom the novel and its themes revolve. Fabrizio represents the old Sicilian aristocracy, which, as the story begins, is under siege. The Italian Risorgimento, the movement for Italian unity, is about to defeat the Bourbon monarchy that controls Naples and Sicily. By 1870, ten years after the novel’s story begins, Italy is one kingdom, with Rome as its capital. Fabrizio, who is forty-five years old as the story begins, looks on his advancing age and the passing old order of the country with mixed feelings. His personal life is full of disillusionment, but he is aware of the need for political and social compromise. He envies his nephew’s lust for his bride but sadly realizes that the marriage is a financial and social necessity. Through most of his adult life, Fabrizio has been similarly torn between personal disappointment and an attempt to transcend personal preoccupations, and he has studied the stars for answers. Eventually, Fabrizio is able to welcome death as a release. He realizes that life will go on without him and that his concerns with the past essentially have been futile.
Tancredi Falconeri (tahn-KREH-dee fahl-koh-NEH-ree), Fabrizio’s handsome, dashing nephew, who represents the spirit of compromise that will build the new Italy from its fragmented, aristocratic past. Tancredi joined Garibaldi’s army and marries Angelica Sedara for similar reasons, knowing that the old Sicily is passing, that his family needs money, and that acceptance of change is better than futile resistance.
Don Calogero Sedara
Don Calogero Sedara (kah-loh-JEHR-oh say-DAH-rah), the mayor of Donnafugata, where Fabrizio owns property. Don Calogero is crude and uncultured but wealthy and ambitious. He is aware that his own social origins, from the poor peasantry, represent the ascendancy in modern Italy, and he is eager to manipulate Fabrizio for personal gain.
Angelica Sedara (ahn-jehl-EE-kah), Don Calogero’s beautiful daughter, who falls in love with Tancredi. Although she loves Tancredi, Angelica clearly sees what is to be gained from a union with the house of Salina; she has no illusions about love’s fragility.
Aimone Chevalley di Monterzuolo
Aimone Chevalley di Monterzuolo (I-moh-neh keh-VAHL-lay dee mohn-tehr-zew-oh-loh), a representative of the Piedmontese government of unification. He asks Fabrizio to serve as a senator in the new kingdom under Victor Emmanuel. Fabrizio refuses, arguing that progress in Sicily is unlikely because Sicilians are obsessed with the past and their visions of past glory. Chevalley protests, believing that the new government can solve Sicily’s problems and move Italy into the future.
Concetta Corbera (kohn-CHEHT-tah), Fabrizio’s strongest daughter. Her life is embittered by her loss of Tancredi to Angelica Sedara. Concetta and her sisters, Carolina and Caterina, have tried to perpetuate a Christian spirit at the family villa well into the twentieth century, but as the novel ends, Concetta breaks with the past she wanted to preserve. The Salina family line seems at an end.