Bishop Heard of Bampopo
Bishop Heard of Bampopo, an English clergyman who goes to the Isle of Nepenthe to meet his cousin and escort her to England, where he is going from Africa.
Don Francesco, a Roman Catholic priest who introduces Bishop Heard to Nepenthean society.
The duchess of San Martino
The duchess of San Martino, an American-born woman who married a title. She is being converted to Catholicism.
Mr. Keith, an ardent, aging hedonist. He believes people ought to do what they wish.
Denis Phipps, a college student who confides in Bishop Heard. He finally learns how to make a decision for himself.
Mr. Eames, an elderly scholar.
Count Caloveglia, an antiquarian and a dealer in fake antiques.
Freddy Parker, the proprietor of a café. He sponsors a religious procession in an effort to end an eruption of the local volcano.
Miss Wilberforce, an American who drinks heavily and undresses in the streets.
Mr. Van Koppen
Mr. Van Koppen, an American millionaire. He is something of an eccentric. When cheated by Count Caloveglia, he pays the outrageous price, pleased that the count has fooled an expert.
Mrs. Meadows, the bishop’s cousin. She kills Retlow because, as her first husband, he tries to blackmail her.
Retlow, alias Muhlen, a blackmailer and former. Mrs. Meadows murders him because he tries to blackmail her.
Signor Malipizzo, the local magistrate and a Freemason. He hopes to discredit the church by showing that a cousin of Don Francesco committed the murder of Muhlen.
Commendatore Morena, the lawyer who defends the boy accused of murdering Muhlen.