The Bridge of San Luis Rey


Thornton Wilder

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The Bridge of San Luis Rey Characters

Brother Juniper

Brother Juniper is a Limean friar who witnesses the bridge collapse. He decides to thoroughly investigate each of the victims in order prove that the catastrophe was an act of God and discern why God… read analysis of Brother Juniper

Doña María

Doña María is a Limean noblewoman and eventual victim of the bridge collapse. Doña María’s defining quality is her obsessive devotion to her daughter, Doña Clara, a passion she channels all her energies into… read analysis of Doña María

Doña Clara / Condesa Clara

Doña Clara is Doña María’s daughter. In response to her mother’s oppressively intense love, Doña Clara becomes emotionally unresponsive and attempts to distance herself from her mother as much as possible, even marrying a… read analysis of Doña Clara / Condesa Clara

Camila Perichole / Micaela Villegas

Camila Perichole is a talented but volatile Limean actress, usually known as “the Perichole.” A lowly orphan, the Perichole spends her childhood singing in cafes under a series of abusive employers, until Uncle Pioread analysis of Camila Perichole / Micaela Villegas

Uncle Pio

Uncle Pio is Camila Perichole’s acting coach and assistant, a cunning, intelligent, and highly cultured jack-of-all-trades. Born out of wedlock to a wealthy Spanish nobleman, Uncle Pio spends his childhood on the streets of… read analysis of Uncle Pio
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Pepita is a young orphan who grows up under the guidance of the Abbess. Kind, intelligent, and industrious, Pepita distinguishes herself among her peers, and the Abbess decides that she will inherit her position… read analysis of Pepita

Viceroy Andrés

The Viceroy is a deputy of the Spanish king and the head of Lima’s colonial administration. Like his colleague, the Archbishop, the Viceroy is less interested in serving the Limean populace than in enriching himself… read analysis of Viceroy Andrés

The Abbess

The Abbess, Madre María del Pilar, is a highly principled and formidable nun who superintends most of the city’s charitable works. In her hopes for women’s rights and a more equal society, she’s centuries ahead… read analysis of The Abbess


Esteban is a young man who grows up in the Abbess’s orphanage alongside his identical twin, Manuel. Reserved and industrious, Esteban works as a scribe and errand boy, but he forms few friendships… read analysis of Esteban


Esteban’s twin brother. Manuel is almost exactly like his brother, except that whereas Esteban is completely satisfied by their close sibling bond, Manuel becomes infatuated with the actress Camila Perichole. His new passion… read analysis of Manuel

Archbishop of Lima

The highest religious official in Lima. Although he is occupies a position of grave authority, the Archbishop is generally decadent and silly, spending his time hosting large dinner parties and flirting with actresses, like Camilaread analysis of Archbishop of Lima

Captain Alvarado

a well-known Peruvian explorer, Captain Alvarado is a reserved but deeply compassionate man. His friends, including Doña María and the Abbess, believe that his ceaseless traveling is a means of distracting himself from the… read analysis of Captain Alvarado
Minor Characters
Don Jaime
The seven-year-old son of Camila Perichole and the Viceroy. On his way to live with Uncle Pio in Lima, he dies in the bridge collapse.
Conde Vicente d’Abuirre
Doña Clara’s husband, a Spanish nobleman. It’s the Conde who preserves Doña María’s letters to her daughter, ensuring that they eventually become important works of literature.