Love in the Time of Cholera

by: Gabriel García Márquez

Dr. Juvenal Urbino del Calle

The city's most educated doctor and most esteemed public figure, Urbino is a relatively unemotional, uncommunicative man, though he is not unkind. He marries Fermina because he respects her haughty, serious manner. He pays more attention to his pet parrot than he does to his two children. His emotionlessness may stem from his aristocratic upbringing; unlike Florentino, who is of the peasant class, the Doctor is entirely passionless, taking pleasure in little but chess, medicine, and foreign books. He is an old-fashioned man, and still makes house calls to his patients, even after studying the newest medical technologies in Europe.

He is an honest man, driven by his immense faith in God, and feels anguish when he cannot resist the temptations of Barbara Lynch, with whom he cheats on his wife. He is grateful when Fermina discovers that he is cheating on her, for the immense guilt he feels prevents him from even enjoying the pleasure that he once took in committing "ethical violations" against Barbara. Despite his commanding public presence, in his home, he is a weak, cowardly man. When Fermina asks him to stand up to his mother in her defense, he is to frightened to do so. Again, after a fight with Fermina in which he was truly and factually correct, he relinquishes his pride and submits to his wife. He is both respectable and pitiable, particularly when he is enfeebled by his old age.