The Castle of Otranto

Alfonso Character Analysis

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 and married a woman in Sicily, Victoria, on his way to join the Crusades. Meaning to return to her and their unborn child, Alfonso sailed for the Holy Land, only to be poisoned by his chamberlain Ricardo, Manfred’s grandfather, who usurped the throne. Alfonso’s daughter later married Jerome and gave birth to Theodore. When giant pieces of armor mysteriously appear around the castle, Alfonso’s statue in Otranto’s church are said to be missing those same pieces of armor, suggesting that Alfonso’s ghost is not yet at rest and fulfilling the prophecy made by St. Nicholas — that when the rightful ruler grows too large for the castle (just as the armor is too large for any mortal), Ricardo’s line will end.

Alfonso Quotes in The Castle of Otranto

The The Castle of Otranto quotes below are all either spoken by Alfonso or refer to Alfonso. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Humor, the Gothic, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of The Castle of Otranto published in 2004.
Chapter 1 Quotes

The Castle and Lordship of Otranto should pass from the present family whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit it.

Related Characters: Manfred, Theodore, Alfonso
Related Symbols: Castle of Otranto, The Giant Suit of Armor
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:

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In vain did Manfred’s friends endeavour to divert him from this savage and ill-grounded resolution. The generality were charmed with their lord’s decision, which, to their apprehensions, carried great appearance of justice; as the magician was to be punished by the very instrument with which he had offended: nor were they struck with the least compunction at the probability of the youth being starved; for they firmly believed, that, by his diabolical skill, he could easily supply himself with nutriment.

Related Characters: Theodore, Alfonso
Related Symbols: The Giant Suit of Armor
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 3 Quotes

Know then, that I have long been troubled in mind on my union with the princess Hippolita…for we are related within the forbidden degrees. My only difficulty was to fix on a successor, who would be tender of my people, and to dispose of the Lady Isabella, who is dear to me as my own blood. I was willing to restore the line of Alfonso, even in his most distant kindred…. I would submit to anything for the good of my people—were it not the best, the only way to extinguish the feuds between our families, if I was to take the Lady Isabella to wife—you start—but, though Hippolita’s virtues will ever be dear to me, a prince must not consider himself; he is born for his people.

Related Characters: Manfred (speaker), Isabella, Hippolita, Alfonso
Page Number: 69-70
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 4 Quotes

Where’er a casque that suits this sword is found,
With perils is thy daughter compass’ed round;
Alfonso’s blood alone can save the maid,
And quiet a long restless prince’s shade.

Related Characters: Frederic (speaker), Theodore, Isabella, Alfonso
Related Symbols: The Giant Suit of Armor
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 5 Quotes

The moment Theodore appeared, the walls of the castle behind Manfred were thrown down with a mighty force, and the form of Alfonso, dilated to an immense magnitude, appeared in the centre of the ruins. “Behold in Theodore the true heir of Alfonso!” said the vision: and having pronounced these words, accompanied by a clap of thunder, it ascended solemnly towards Heaven, where, the clouds parting asunder, the form of St. Nicholas was seen, and receiving Alfonso’s shade, they were soon wrapt from mortal eyes in a blaze of glory.

Related Characters: Alfonso (speaker), Manfred, Theodore
Related Symbols: Castle of Otranto, The Giant Suit of Armor
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:

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Alfonso Character Timeline in The Castle of Otranto

The timeline below shows where the character Alfonso appears in The Castle of Otranto. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Lineage and Leadership Theme Icon
Class, Comedy, and Tragedy Theme Icon
...helmet. When a young peasant observes its similarity to the helmet on the statue of Alfonso the Good in the church of St. Nicholas, Manfred flies into a rage, grabs the... (full context)
Lineage and Leadership Theme Icon
Class, Comedy, and Tragedy Theme Icon
At that moment, a few peasants returned from the church, confirming that Alfonso’s statue was missing its helmet. Panicked and enraged, Manfred accuses the young peasant of killing... (full context)
Chapter 2
Lineage and Leadership Theme Icon
Gender and Marriage Theme Icon
...numerous proposals for her. Bianca then teases Matilda for her adoration of a painting of Alfonso, a heroic past ruler of Otranto, but Matilda claims she is not in love with... (full context)
Chapter 3
The Divine vs. The Mundane Theme Icon
Lineage and Leadership Theme Icon
...guardians. Frederic also demands control of Otranto, as Frederic is the closest blood relative to Alfonso. The herald challenges Manfred to single combat. The narrator reveals that Manfred was aware of... (full context)
Humor, the Gothic, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Lineage and Leadership Theme Icon
Class, Comedy, and Tragedy Theme Icon
Gender and Marriage Theme Icon
...supposedly incestuous marriage has troubled him and that in order to avoid incest and restore Alfonso’s line, he intended to marry Isabella, “who is dear to [him] as [his] own blood.” (full context)
Chapter 4
Humor, the Gothic, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
The Divine vs. The Mundane Theme Icon
Gender and Marriage Theme Icon
...and his men unearthed the sword, they saw that it contained a prophecy saying that “Alfonso’s blood alone” can save Isabella at Otranto. (full context)
The Divine vs. The Mundane Theme Icon
Lineage and Leadership Theme Icon
Manfred arrives and is shocked to see an armor-clad Theodore, whom he mistakes for Alfonso. When Manfred realizes it is Theodore, he is furious that Theodore escaped. Assuming Jerome helped... (full context)
Chapter 5
The Divine vs. The Mundane Theme Icon
...spy at the church informs him that Theodore and a lady are secretly meeting at Alfonso’s tomb in the church. Believing that Isabella rejected his sexual advances because of her eagerness... (full context)
Humor, the Gothic, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
The Divine vs. The Mundane Theme Icon
Lineage and Leadership Theme Icon
...part of the castle walls behind Manfred crash down, and a giant ghost-like image of Alfonso appears over the ruins, declaring that Theodore is the true ruler of Otranto. (full context)
Humor, the Gothic, and the Supernatural Theme Icon
The Divine vs. The Mundane Theme Icon
Lineage and Leadership Theme Icon
Gender and Marriage Theme Icon
...reveals the story of how he came to rule Otranto. His grandfather Ricardo had been Alfonso’s chamberlain and, during the Crusades, murdered Alfonso and then forged Alfonso’s will in order to... (full context)
The Divine vs. The Mundane Theme Icon
Lineage and Leadership Theme Icon
Gender and Marriage Theme Icon
Jerome then completes the story by recounting Alfonso’s secret past. Before Alfonso fought in the crusades, he married a Sicilian woman named Victoria,... (full context)