Giovanni Drogo (jee-oh-VAHN-nee DROH-goh), a newly commissioned officer posted to Fort Bastiani. Very young when he is first sent to Fort Bastiani, Drogo is sad at leaving the exciting life of the town for the isolated and gloomy fort. Perhaps because of his melancholy and introspective nature, Drogo is self-conscious about every gesture that he makes. As his time at the fort stretches on and on, Drogo loses all contact with the world outside. Like Captain Ortiz, Drogo allows his life to be spent in hope, waiting in vain for the glorious war that seems never to arrive. When it finally does, Drogo is sent away from the fort before the action starts because he is ill. Even though Drogo (now a major) is second in command, he is powerless to prevent his commanding officer, Simeoni, from ignoring his pleas.
Francesco Vescovi (frahn-CHEHS-koh vehs-KOH-vee), a childhood friend of Drogo. Vescovi has chosen the opposite path to Drogo. Drogo has become an officer; Vescovi has stayed in the “easy elegant life” in town, getting fatter as the years go by, in marked contrast to Drogo and the boniness of his frame by the end of the novel. It is Francesco’s sister Maria to whom Drogo is unofficially engaged. As the years pass, Drogo drifts apart from both Francesco and Maria....
(The entire section is 436 words.)