Characters Discussed

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 332

Florio

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Florio (FLOH-ree-oh), a gentleman of Parma, the devoted father of Giovanni and Annabella. Concerned about his son’s “over-bookish” habits, he places his hope in his beloved daughter and leaves her free to marry for love. He is so shocked by the revelation of his children’s incestuous relationship and Annabella’s death that he dies almost instantly of a broken heart.

Giovanni

Giovanni (jee-oh-VAHN-nee), his sensitive, intellectual son, who is consumed by his passion for his sister. He maintains steadily the conviction that his love is virtuous and reaffirms his faith in his affection as he kills Annabella and their unborn child to save her honor.

Annabella

Annabella, his beautiful sister. She rejects the virtuous life her father wants for her and returns Giovanni’s love, repenting her actions only when she realizes that Soranzo intends to kill her for her betrayal of him.

Putana

Putana (pew-TAH-nah), Annabella’s bawdy old servant, who encourages her relationship with Giovanni.

Donado

Donado (doh-NAH-doh), the wealthy uncle of one of Annabella’s foolish suitors.

Bergetto

Bergetto (behr-GEHT-toh), Donado’s tactless, stupid nephew, who courts Annabella with insults, then brags of winning her favor. He is killed by Grimaldi.

Poggio

Poggio (poh-GEE-oh), Bergetto’s servant.

Soranzo

Soranzo (soh-RAHN-zoh), the worldly, well-to-do gentleman whom Annabella marries to save her reputation. He rages and plots her murder when he learns how he has been duped.

Grimaldi

Grimaldi (gree-MAHL-dee), a belligerent Roman gentleman, Annabella’s admirer. He murders Bergetto by mistake as he attempts to take revenge on his successful rival, Soranzo.

Hippolita

Hippolita, Soranzo’s vengeful cast-off mistress.

Richardetto

Richardetto, Hippolita’s husband, rumored dead. Disguised as a doctor, he returns to Parma to spy on his wife’s infidelities.

Philotis

Philotis (fee-LOH-tees), Richardetto’s niece.

Friar Bonaventura

Friar Bonaventura (boh-nah-vehn-TEW-rah), Giovanni’s confessor, who tries unsuccessfully to convince him that he is falling deeper and deeper into sin.

Vasques

Vasques (VAS-kwehz), Soranzo’s servant, expert at extracting information and at thwarting conspiracies against his master.

Characters

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 796

Annabella
Florio's daughter, in love with her brother, Giovanni. In the course of her affair with Giovanni, she becomes pregnant and agrees to marry Soranzo to cover her transgression. Annabella confesses her incest to the Friar and writes a repentant letter to Giovanni. Soranzo discovers her pregnancy and vows to revenge himself on Annabella and her brother Giovanni at his birthday party. Before he can, however, Giovanni murders his sister, kills Soranzo, and dies fighting Vasques.

Bergetto
Donado's nephew, Bergetto is dense and vulgar. Much of the play's comic relief comes from his efforts to sue for marriage with Annabella. He is murdered by Grimaldi, who mistakes him for Soranzo.

Friar Bonaventura
A friar and Giovanni's professor when he studied at the university. Bonaventura urges Giovanni to fight his incestuous feelings for his sister. When Bonaventura eventually encounters Annabella, he convinces her to repent and to break off the erotic relationship with her brother. When Giovanni refuses to listen to his advice, Bonaventura leaves.

The Cardinal
Nuncio to the Pope, the Cardinal protects Grimaldi though he knows he's guilty of Bergetto's murder. At the play's end, the Cardinal confiscates the lovers' property in the name of the church.

Donado
A citizen of Parma, Donado is Bergetto's uncle. He hopes to marry his foolish nephew with Annabella by writing a love letter for him, but Bergetto insists on writing—and reading—his own letter. When Bergetto's wooing fails and she rejects him, he seems unfazed and goes off to find prostitutes.

Florio
A citizen of Parma, father to Giovanni and Annnabella. While he seems to have his children's best interests at heart, telling a friend that he will not force Annabella to marry someone she does not want to, his ideas of "what is best'' for his daughter are ultimately financial rather than emotional.

Giovanni
The son of Florio, Giovanni loves his sister, Annabella. They have an incestuous affair, by which she becomes pregnant. To conceal her affair, she agrees to marry Soranzo. In the end, Giovanni murders Annabella, enters Soranzo's birthday feast with her heart on his sword, and fights the Banditti and Vasques, who ultimately kills him.

Grimaldi
A Roman gentleman who loves Annabella, he conspires with Richardetto to murder Soranzo with a poisoned rapier. Richardetto, disguised as a doctor, agrees to help Grimaldi. Richardetto, who knows his wife Hippolita is having an affair with Soranzo, hopes to get revenge on his wife's lover. When they carry out their plot, however, Grimaldi mistakenly kills Bergetto instead of Soranzo. He escapes justice for this crime when the Cardinal grants him immunity.

Hippolita
Richardetto's unfaithful wife who is having affair with Soranzo. When rejected by Soranzo, she plans revenge with the help of his servant Vasques, offering him the reward of sexual favors and wealth for his help. In the event, he betrays her and remains loyal to his master Soranzo. Hippolita ends up killed when Vasques hands her the poisoned cup she intended for Soranzo.

Philotis
Richardetto's naive, subservient niece, she obeys her uncle in everything. First, he hopes she will marry Soranzo, then, he decides she must enter a convent. Without protest, she agrees.

Poggio
Bergetto's relatively loyal servant, Poggio seems to be smarter than his master, which under the circumstances is not that difficult. Also providing comic relief, he accompanies Bergetto on his fanciful adventures.

Putana
Annabella's tutoress, she accepts the news of her mistress's affair with her brother agreeably, saying she believes it is acceptable to have affairs with brothers, fathers, or anyone if the mood strikes. Tricked by Vasques into revealing the paternity of Annabella's child, he has her bound and blinded.

Richardetto
Hippolita's husband and Philotis's uncle, Richardetto disguises himself as a physician in order to uncover his wife's infidelities with Soranzo. He plots with Grimaldi to help him murder Soranzo. His motivation is revenge for Soranzo's affair with Hippolita, but Richardetto, cold and calculating, does not get very upset when his wife dies.

Soranzo
A nobleman in love with Annabella, Soranzo is having an affair with Richardetto's wife Hippolita. Soranzo marries Annabella, discovers she's pregnant by her brother, and plans revenge for this humiliation. Before he can punish them, however, Giovanni kills Soranzo at his birthday party.

Vasques
Soranzo's loyal servant and formerly servant of his father, Vasques proves central to his master's plan for revenge. Vasques pretends to plot with Hippolita to help her revenge herself on Soranzo in exchange for her money and sexual favors, but in the end he remains loyal to his master. He lies to Putana to discover the identify of the father of Annabella's baby, then has Annabella's tutoress bound and blinded. At the play's end, the Cardinal exiles him instead of punishing him for his role in the plans for revenge and murder.

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