The Castle of Otranto


Horace Walpole

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Castle of Otranto can help.

The Castle of Otranto Characters


The story’s antagonist, Manfred is the ruler of Otranto, the grandson of the man who usurped Otranto from its former rulers. He is husband to Hippolita, and father to Matilda and Conrad. Quick… read analysis of Manfred


The hero of the story, Theodore is first presented as the peasant whom Manfred wrongfully imprisons for an offhand observation. Well-spoken, noble, and brave, he bears a striking resemblance to the statue of Alfonso theread analysis of Theodore


A princess and the daughter of Frederic, the Marquis of Vincenza, at the beginning of the novel Isabella is Conrad’s fiancé and the ward and de facto daughter of Hippolita and Manfred. Like… read analysis of Isabella

Father Jerome

Father Jerome is a devout, intelligent, and kind-hearted friar in one of Otranto’s two convents. As Manfred’s foil, he constantly urges the prince to renounce his thirst for worldly power and to take up faith… read analysis of Father Jerome


Frederic is the Marquis of Vincenza and Isabella’s father. Throughout most of the novel, he is known as the closest male blood relative to Alfonso with the strongest claim to ruling Otranto, but has been… read analysis of Frederic
Get the entire The Castle of Otranto LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Castle of Otranto PDF


Matilda is the beautiful 18-year-old daughter of Manfred and Hippolita, and Conrad’s sister. Matilda is intelligent, pious, and completely devoted to her mother. Though she originally intended to become a nun rather than marry… read analysis of Matilda


The princess of Otranto and Manfred’s wife, Hippolita is the mother of Matilda and Conrad. Though she is pious and kind, her complete devotion and submission to her husband make her his key enabler… read analysis of Hippolita


Also known as Alfonso the Good, Alfonso is the heroic past ruler of Otranto and Theodore’s grandfather. Though the story’s characters presume that he has no heirs, it is later revealed that he had met… read analysis of Alfonso


The hermit, who lives in the woods near Joppa, uses his lasts breaths to tell Frederic a secret from St. Nicholas about where to dig up a giant sword upon which is written a prophecy… read analysis of Hermit


Alfonso’s chamberlain, usurper of Otranto, father of Manuel, grandfather of Manfred, and great-grandfather of Matilda and Conrad. In the Holy Land during the Crusades, Ricardo poisons his lord Alfonso and forges a… read analysis of Ricardo


A servant and confidante of Hippolita, Matilda, and Isabella. Silly, nosy, and superstitious, Bianca often gossips and shows that she is willing to be deceitful when she tries to pry into Theodore’sread analysis of Bianca

St. Nicholas

The saint to whom Otranto’s church is dedicated and to whom all of Otranto pray. After Ricardo was shipwrecked and prayed to St. Nicholas for his survival in return for a church and two convents… read analysis of St. Nicholas
Minor Characters
Conrad is the only son of Manfred and Hippolita, and Matilda’s younger brother. Fifteen years old, sickly, and unaccomplished, Conrad is Manfred’s favorite child and only heir. He is engaged to Isabella until he is crushed to death by a giant helmet at the beginning of the story.
One of Manfred’s servants. After Isabella escapes the castle and the servants are instructed to find her, Diego is shocked to find a giant foot and leg in armor in the gallery.
Another of Manfred’s servants searching for Isabella throughout the castle. Though he did not see the giant leg in armor himself, he was with Diego when the latter encountered it and recounts the tale to Manfred.
Alfonso’s wife from Sicily, mother to Jerome’s wife, and Theodore’s grandmother.
Ricardo’s son, Manfred’s father, and Matilda’s and Conrad’s grandfather. Usurping ruler of Otranto.