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An elderly procuress, or madam, who lives by her wits, intelligence, and wisdom to get by. A masterful and clever manipulator, Celestina practices witchcraft and makes love potions for the lovesick. Despite all her aches and pains of old age, she is a bawdy figure who delights in life. She is both the protagonist and antagonist of the novel.
Read an in-depth analysis of Celestina.
A young, beautiful nobleman who falls desperately in love with Melibea while searching for his lost falcon. Egotistical and self-indulgent, he becomes easy prey for Sempronio and Celestina, who manipulate him for his wealth. Calisto, as the story’s main protagonist, sets the plot in motion when he hires Celestina to gain Melibea’s attention.
Read an in-depth analysis of Calisto.
Calisto’s servant and the story’s main antagonist. Sempronio is wise, opportunistic, and calculating. Despite his self-possession, he still holds a soft spot for Pármeno, whom he accepts as a brother. A foil to Celestina, Sempronio’s brutal, exacting nature serves to undo himself and his co-conspirator, Celestina.
Read an in-depth analysis of Sempronio.
Calisto’s other servant. Unlike Sempronio, Pármeno tries to uphold a sense of virtue and loyalty to his master, though he fails. He served as Celestina’s servant for a short time when he was younger. His mother, Claudina, and Celestina were friends. Although bookish and learned, Pármeno’s intelligence is no match for Celestina’s, which is more practical and cutthroat.
Read an in-depth analysis of Pármeno.
The only daughter of Pleberio and Alisa, a wealthy family. Melibea is gullible and soft-natured and truly wants to protect her chastity and family’s honor, yet vanity and haughtiness undo her in the end.
One of Celestina’s prostitutes and Sempronio’s lover. Elicia is jealous, demands attention, and can’t stand to be alone for long. She doesn’t care about making a living; she says she would rather enjoy herself while young. Elicia is devoted to Celestina and treats her like a mother.
Another one of Celestina’s prostitutes and Pármeno’s lover. Areúsa longs for protection and care from a man, but as a prostitute who needs to look out for herself first, this is a weakness. At first, Areúsa is reluctant to sleep with Pármeno because she doesn’t want to lose her other client, who treats her like a wife, but Celestina convinces her to give in.
Elicia’s cousin and Melibea’s servant. Lucrecia is a loyal servant to Melibea and one of Celestina’s minor foils. Lucrecia is highly suspicious of Celestina and tries to protect Melibea from Celestina’s manipulation. She is overcome by her vanity, however, when Celestina offers to give her cosmetics to attract a husband.
Melibea’s mother. A jealous and stern woman, Alisa is highly sensitive and protective of Melibea. She is warm to Celestina at first, but when Celestina returns to the house for a second time, she grows suspicious and tells Melibea not to invite her in again.
Melibea’s father. Pleberio is a noble and powerful man and devoted father to Melibea. When Melibea leaps to her death in front of him, he is devastated and wisely ponders the pointless value of wealth and the destructive nature of love.
Calisto’s servant. Far less sharp and savvy than his predecessors, Sempronio and Pármeno, but loyal nonetheless to his master. Calisto only enlists Tristán’s help after Sempronio and Pármeno die.
The stable boy at Calisto’s estate. He is gentle-hearted and very loyal to Calisto. Sosia sets the ladder from which Calisto falls to his death.