Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia (Dr. Francia) is clearly the central figure of I, the Supreme. He is merely a voice in the text, an essence rather than concrete presence; he is never described physically. This essence, however, is extremely ambiguous, since it is formed from the different points of view in the novel. Ultimately, he emerges as a lonely, impotent, isolated, sick old man on his deathbed, raging to hang onto the power he formerly possessed and to justify his actions for posterity. The only power left to him is that of speech, and he attempts to use it to manipulate the reader’s attitudes in the novel. Unfortunately, he becomes trapped in his own contradictions and dies frustrated and unredeemed by history.
Policarpo Patiño is the dictator’s naïve personal secretary and constant companion. Like Francia, he is a disembodied voice in the text, portrayed as ignorant, simpleminded, extremely credulous, and superstitious. He serves as a kind of Sancho Panza to the dictator’s philosophical Don Quixote, a foil for his constant ramblings, self-justifications, and desire to “dictate.”
Juan Parish Robertson is a fictionalized reconstruction of a historical character. Presented through the dictator’s eyes, he represents everything that is negative about British colonialism, specifically the desire to make a fortune at the expense of the inferior colonials. An entrepreneurial adventurer, he is portrayed as weak and...
(The entire section is 584 words.)