Examine the Role/Contribution of any of these characters in the story: Manfred, Hippolita, Alfonso, Conrad, Jerome, Theodore, Matilda, Isabella, the domestics, Bianca, Frederic etc.
Of all the characters in the story, Manfred, the self-acclaimed Prince of Otranto is perhaps the most important. He is seen as the protagonist. He is the son of Richardo, the former prince and “usurper” of the throne of Otranto. Manfred is married to Hippolita and their marriage is blessed with two children, Matilda, 18 a female and Conrad, 15 a male. Manfred, prince of Otranto loves his son dearly and wishes to marry a wife for him on his 15th birthday anniversary. However, on the day of the celebration, Manfred’ son, Conrad dies a mysterious death, being crushed by a strange helmet allegedly from the statue of Alfonso the Good.
Manfred is disillusioned as a result of this untimely death. His purpose of intending to marry for his son is to enable the son begets heir(s) to the throne of Otranto. Not willing to give up, Manfred tries to woo Isabella; the son’s would have been wife. Manfred plans to divorce his wife, Hippolita to pave way for his marriage to Isabella. Meanwhile, the young peasant who tells Manfred of the resemblance of the helmet to that on the figure of Alfonso is imprisoned on the orders of Manfred.
Isabella, whom Manfred wishes to marry escapes from the tyrant and misses her way in the tunnel, she is aided to escape to the convent by the young peasant who has also escaped Manfred’s tyranny by divine intervention.
Manfred is a tyrant and a usurper. He is covetous and jealous. He suspects that the young peasant has a relationship with Isabella; hence he plans to kill him. It is this jealousy that drives him to kill his own daughter, Matilda taking her to be Isabella who has refused to marry him. May he, Manfred is respected and feared by his subordinates, it may be because of his tyranny. He confirms Father Jerome’s story of the prince ship of Otranto and willingly signs the abdication of the principality having recalled how his father, Richardo, usurped the throne of Otranto. Manfred, the unforgiving prince of Otranto finally retires to the convent to spend the rest of his life as a religious.
She is a woman of honour, dignity and self respect. Hippolita is the most outsta9dlng female character in the story. Hippolita is the wife of Manfred, prince of Otranto and the mother of two, a male, Conrad and Matilda a female. Both children die under strange/mysterious circumstances. Truly, Hippolita loves Manfred as well as her two children. Indeed, the death of the two children leaves her broken-hearted.
Hoppolita is kind and considerate, noble and virtuous and a truly religious woman who loves her husband, though he does not deserve her love. She is not carried away by her husband’s position as the prince of Otranto as she lives her life of piety. The death of her surviving daughter is much to bear. She later retires to the convent to live her pious life.
He is also called, Alfonso the Good. Alfonso is the bonafide prince of Otranto and its ruler. It is said that Prince Alfonso the Good was a giant. Besides, he lived a virtuous and religious life. Stories reveal that Alfonso the Good once embarked on a trip to the Holy land. Being overwhelmed by a raging storm, he lost his way. However, fate brings him in contact with a virgin. Victoria and they fall n love. He hopes to marry her officially on his return to Otranto. However, by reason of fate, Victoria gets pregnant for Alfonso before his purported death by poison. The daughter of Victoria became the wife of Jerome and Victoria died. The wife of Jerome and daughter of Alfonso the Good became pregnant too for Jerome and gave birth to Theodore who also was separated by fate with the mother before she died. This separation and death caused Jerome to retire to the convent.
Alfonso the Good died a pious man and ascended to heaven and was received by St. Nicholas. His giant statue is situated at St. Nicholas church.
Conrad is the fifteen-year-old son of Manfred and Hippolita. His only sister is Matilda. Though not much is said or known about Conrad the little incident around him sets the background for other supernatural occurrences. On his fifteenth birthday, Conrad is to wed the daughter of the Marquis of Vicenza, Princess Isabella. It is alleged that young Conrad has not enjoyed the best of his health as he is prone to ailment. By the singular act of providence, Conrad sneaks out of the wedding hall on the fateful day of his wedding to Isabella. His sudden disappearance brings about growing anxiety especially to his father, Manfred who is desirous of having more grandchildren for his possible succession to the throne of Otranto.
The news comes that the young Conrad has been crushed to death by a strange helmet, purportedly from the giant statue of Alfonso the Good. His sudden death IS indeed a great tragedy hence; Conrad is a victim of fate.
She is of noble birth and the princess of Vicenza. Isabella is the daughter of Frederic, the Marquis of Vicenza. She is the fiancée of Conrad, the fifteen-year-old son of Manfred. Though she does not particularly love Conrad fate discharges her of the subdued emotion following the fatal death of Conrad by mysterious circumstances. However, her luck appears short-lived as Manfred; her fiancée’s father declares his intention to marry her, following the death of her husband, Conrad. Frightened by this unholy proposition, Isabella escapes with the help of the young peasant, who also is on Manfred’s watch list. The period of escape is challenging to Isabella as she fears for both her life and that of the young peasant who aids her escape.
Isabella’s life touches on almost all other characters one way or the other. She is humble, loving and caring. Though, a princess, she does not display the grandeur and glamour of her royalty. Fate saves her from the deadly dagger of Manfred which kills his own daughter, Matilda, instead. Finally, Isabella marries Theodore, the true prince of Otranto.
He is the son of father Jerome, unknown to both father and son until fate reveals them. Theodore is the young peasant at the beginning of the story. He alludes that the helmet that crushes Conrad is like the one on the statue of Prince Alfonso the Good in St. Nicholas church. For his profane and vile utterance, he is imprisoned and nearly executed by Manfred’s order. However, by divine and human intervention, Theodore triumphs over his enemies. The young peasant is a true and dedicated lover who fights in defence of what he loves. He fights the man at the end of the tunnel whom he thinks is sent by Manfred to recapture the fleeing Isabella. Theodore wounds the man but is restrained by Isabella who proclaims that the injured man is her father.
Theodore loves Matilda dearly and appeals to his father, Father Jerome to unite him with Matilda as Matilda is killed by her own father in error. Manfred, driven by jealousy is told that Theodore is in the chapel with a woman. He thinks it is Isabella and on reaching the chapel, he hears the voice of a woman and in his rage and jealousy, he stabs and kills his own daughter.
The circumstance of Theodore’s birth is as bizarre as his strings of triumphs over his tormentor in chief Manfred, on one hand and fate, on the other Theodore is fearless. He questions the veracity of Manfred’s actions and dares the consequence. He fights the Marquis of Vicenza in defense of Isabella. Theodore is the true heir of Otranto, by a direct descendant of Alfonso the Good. Theodore, the young peasant and the true Prince of Otranto finally marry Isabella after Manfred’s abdication.
He is the biological father of Theodore, the rightful heir of Otranto. Father Jerome was himself formerly the Prince of Falconara hut he is now a priest. He lives in the convent where he performs his religious obligations. Being called to give absolution to the condemned Theodore, he discovers that Theodore is indeed his own son, born before his entry into the church. His marriage to the daughter of Alfonso the Good gives rise to the pregnancy that later yields a male child. This child is separated from him by fate and as he has neither wife nor child, having lost Victoria, his wife to death soon after the birth of Theodore, the descendant of Alfonso. The hp of a birthmark unites father Jerome and his long-lost son, Theodore.
Father Jerome is truthful and tells his story without blemish, lie sometimes applies diplomacy in discharging his pastoral functions. He does not grant Manfred’s request to divorce Hippolita so as to pave his way to marry Isabella. This diplomacy pays off as Manfred finally retires to the convent after the abdication, thus leaving his son, Theodore the prince of Otranto to marry Isabella We princess of Vicenza.
He is the Marquis of Vicenza and father of Isabella. Disguised as the knight of the gigantic saber, he comes to the castle of Otranto with a huge sword being carried by a hundred men. His sword has some strange inscriptions on its blade that only the blood of Manfred can atone for the wrongs done to the household of the true heir of Otranto. Manfred cunningly arranges to betroth his daughter, Matilda to Frederic to enable him secure the consent of Frederic to marry his own daughter, Isabella. He is warned with supernatural omens, prompting him to renounce his proposed marriage to Matilda.
Frederic is loving and protective. The love of his daughter compels him to go in search of her to fight for Isabella’s protection; he is seriously wounded and taken to the castle chamber for treatment. Frederic is a man of honor and having seen the recent turn of events he offers his daughter, Isabella to the new prince of Otranto, Theodore.
Matilda is the eighteen-year-old daughter of Manfred and Hippolita and a sister to Conrad. Like her brother, Matilda is a victim of circumstance Matilda loves Theodore and tries to help him. Driven by petty jealousy, Manfred learns that Theodore is in the chapel with a woman; he goes to the chapel and in his blind rage stabs the woman who indeed is his only daughter, Matilda. The young Matilda is traded by Manfred, her father for the latter’s selfish interest. He betroths her to the Marquis of Vicenza in other to boost his chance of getting the Marquis daughter, Isabella to marry him.
Though killed by her own father; she forgives him before she dies. Again, she tries to join her mother and father in a loving/lasting union as her last act but her father, Manfred disengages from it. She is hated by her father, Manfred for the singular reason that she is a woman as opposed to Manfred’s desire to have sons. Matilda was murdered in cold blood by her ewe father as a result of unfounded jealousy.
She is a minor character and a servant of Matilda. Bianca is a faithful servant and often times gives wise counsel to her mistress, Matilda, Bianca once advised her mistress to marry against tier earlier intention to retire to the convent. She is often apprehensive as she feels that the castle chamber is haunted by ghosts.
JAQUEZ AND DIEGO
They are the talkative hut simply domestic servants of the castle of Otranto. They are called the domestics and form a special group of characters in the novel. Though they are not particularly important for the plot, however, they play a major function of setting a contrast to the noble heroes. The domestics of Otranto appear not to have enough opportunities to fulfill their intended role because of the few occasions they appear in the story.
When they try to tell Manfred about the giant’s foot they see, they are somewhat inarticulate as they interrupt each other; prevaricate arid repeat whatever that is said. As a result of their incoherent speech, it takes quite some time to get to the point. All in all, Jacquez and Diego, though minor add some comic relief by their actions