Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 273
Donatello is the Count of Monte Beni who is described as an uneducated and naive man who seems out of place in his society. He is fascinated by the artists who reside in a colony in Rome and finds true happiness only in nature. Donatello is changed after murdering a man to prove his love for a woman. He no longer has interest in nature, but he gained a depth of character and a sense of morality.
Miriam Schaefer is the women for whom Donatello commits murder. She is a beautiful and wealthy inhabitant of the artist colony. She is stalked by a man who seems to be a subject of many of her paintings. To stop his harassment, Donatello kills him by throwing him off a rocky cliff.
Brother Antonio is a Capuchin monk and the man who stalks Miriam. He is also Miriam's former fiancé. Based on his perceived morality and good character, the Capuchin Order grants Brother Antonio freedom to leave monastery grounds, which he uses to torment Miriam until he is murdered.
Hilda is an American student studying painting in Rome. She is close to Miriam and is well aware of Brother Antonio's stalking. She witnesses his murder and is asked by Miriam to deliver a package. She is caught and held as a suspect. Her experiences cause her to lose all passion for painting.
Kenyon is another American who works in Rome as a sculptor. He falls in love with Hilda, and eventually the two are married. After the murder of Brother Antonio, he reunites Donatello and Miriam, who were both ridden with guilt and suffering in isolation.