Agilulf, a knight in Charlemagne’s army. Agilulf’s appearance is the most important thing about him because, in a sense, he is only appearance. He exists only as his armor (white except for a thin black line running along the seams), his shield (on which is a coat of arms showing a shield sporting a coat of arms with a shield, ad infinitum), and his voice. He is a hollow man who has given himself up to forms of life—the code of chivalry and military conduct—so completely that he is divorced from life in its human, corporeal aspects. He is at once absurdly comic and tragic, not a shallow but an engagingly complex character. He is the greatest warrior in this novel of warfare. He is virtuous. He is desired by many women and pursued by one, Bradamante, throughout the book. Ultimately, though, he can enjoy none of the fruits of his many excellent qualities, and the end finds him to be simply inanimate armor.
Bradamante, a female soldier. Bradamante is a beautiful young woman, but she wears armor and passes for a man throughout much of the action. In a sense, then, she is like Agilulf in that her armor represents what she desires to be: a great warrior. Whereas Agilulf is only his desires, however, Bradamante is also a woman and cannot deny that facet of her personality. She falls in love with Agilulf because of his knightly perfection and spends much of the novel pursuing the...
(The entire section is 561 words.)