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Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 597

Violaine Vercors

Violaine Vercors (vyoh-LEHN vehr-KOHR ), the eighteen-year-old daughter of Anne and Elisabeth, and Mara’s older sister. She is engaged to marry Jacques Hury, a farmer. In the prologue, she forgives Pierre de Craon, a mason who had attempted to rape her. He now suffers from leprosy....

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Violaine Vercors

Violaine Vercors (vyoh-LEHN vehr-KOHR), the eighteen-year-old daughter of Anne and Elisabeth, and Mara’s older sister. She is engaged to marry Jacques Hury, a farmer. In the prologue, she forgives Pierre de Craon, a mason who had attempted to rape her. He now suffers from leprosy. As he is about to leave their village for Rheims to build a church appropriately named Holy Justice, Violaine gives him her engagement ring as a contribution to the construction costs. She then kisses Pierre as a sign of her forgiveness. She thus becomes infected with leprosy, from which she will die. Although she loves Jacques, her fiancé, she tells him that they can never marry each other. After she leaves their village of Combernon, he marries her younger sister, Mara. When their baby Aubaine dies, Mara implores Violaine to pray to God so that Aubaine may live. Aubaine is miraculously restored to life. As the play ends, Violaine encourages her father, her sister, and her brother-in-law to appreciate God’s intense love for humanity.

Pierre de Craon

Pierre de Craon (pyehr deh kra-YOH[N]), a mason who appears only in the prologue. He bitterly regrets his attempted rape of Violaine. He tells her that his leprosy is a divine punishment for his crime. She believes that his repentance is sincere. He is miraculously cured of his leprosy. While in Jerusalem, he meets Violaine’s father and gives him her engagement ring.

Anne Vercors

Anne Vercors, the husband of Elisabeth and father of two grown daughters, Violaine and Mara. After having arranged Violaine’s forthcoming marriage to Jacques Hury, he informs his wife and daughters that God needs him to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Anne believes that he must sacrifice his comfortable life in France to serve God. When he returns to his village, he finds Violaine unconscious in the sand. He brings her home and explains to Jacques and Mara that Violaine freely contracted leprosy to serve God through suffering and prayer.

Jacques Hury

Jacques Hury (zhahk hew-REE), a young and sensible farmer engaged to marry Violaine. When he learns from her that she suffers from leprosy, he agrees with her that they should never marry. He arranges for her to leave Combernon for Chevoche, where she will receive care. Although he does marry Mara, he never stops loving Violaine. As Violaine is dying, Anne tells Jacques that she was inspired by God to sacrifice happiness so that she could dedicate her life to prayer.

Mara Vercors

Mara Vercors (mah-RAH), Violaine’s younger sister, first portrayed as self-centered and manipulative. Mara wanted to marry Jacques; she tells her mother that she will commit suicide if her mother does not prevent Violaine’s wedding to Jacques. After Violaine becomes a leper, Mara does marry Jacques. When their baby daughter, Aubaine, dies, Mara implores her sister to intervene with God. While Violaine prays, Mara recites readings from the masses for Christmas Day. Their prayers are answered with Aubaine’s miraculous restoration to life. After his return from the Holy Land, Anne helps Mara to understand that altruism can overcome selfishness. Thanks to Anne and Violaine, Mara grows both spiritually and emotionally.

Elisabeth Vercors

Elisabeth Vercors, the wife of Anne and mother of Violaine and Mara, hurt by her husband’s sudden decision to leave for the Holy Land and by Mara’s threat to commit suicide. She feels abandoned by her husband, and she cannot understand Mara’s extreme selfishness. Elisabeth dies sometime between the wedding of Jacques and Mara and the birth of her granddaughter, Aubaine.

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