Pepita Jiménez

by Juan Valera

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Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 342

Pepita Jimenez is a novel written by Juan Valera in the nineteenth century. It was later adapted into a comic opera with several versions and then into three film versions. There are ten characters.

Luis de Vargas

Luis is the central character, a sheltered, naive young seminary student preparing to enter the priesthood. His uncle is the dean of the seminary. He comes home for the summer and finds that his father is about to marry. Luis will eventually fall in love with his father’s young bride, Pepita Jimenez. The romantic love triangle in the story is told as comic and ironic rather than tragic or sinful.

Don Pedro de Vargas

Don Pedro is Luis's father and is about to marry Pepita Jimenez. He not only understands Luis's love for Pepita—he encourages it and has, in fact, been working towards it. This is a source of comedy in the novel, opera, and films.

Pepita Jimenez

The title character, Pepita, is a beautiful young widow of nineteen. She loved neither her first husband nor her new fiancee, but she does fall in love with his son, Luis.


Gumersindo is an elderly money lender in his eighties, who marries Pepita when she was sixteen and passes away shortly after.


Antonona is Pepita's governess and chaperone. Even though Pepita is an adult, it was common among wealthy elites to have a chaperone who would guard a single young woman's virtue and reputation. But Antonona actually encourages the romance between Luis and Pepita. Since this is the opposite of her job, it is a source of comedy in the story.

The Vicar

The Vicar is a clergyman who is above a parish priest, usually a bishop's deputy. He wants Pepita to marry Don Pedro.


Currito is Luis’s cousin. The two go to a casino together to gamble.

Count de Genazahar

Count de Genazahar is in debt to Gumersindo and will not repay it. He also seeks to marry Pepita. At the casino, he tells Luis and Currito insults about Pepita. He then gets into a duel with Luis.

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