The Life of Galileo

The Life of Galileo Characters

Galileo Galilei

Galileo, the protagonist and title character of Life of Galileo, is a lecturer at Padua University, where he specializes in using mathematics to prove astronomical models. Galileo is a robust man, full of energy… (read full character analysis)

Andrea Sarti

Andrea is the young son of Mrs. Sarti and a student of Galileo Galilei. Quick-witted and precocious, Andrea likes to question things and he even becomes something of a teacher himself when he attempts… (read full character analysis)

The Little Monk

The Little Monk begins as one of Galileo Galilei’s many detractors within the Catholic Church, but he ultimately becomes one of Galileo’s students and acolytes. Trained to be a theologian, mathematician, physicist, and astronomer… (read full character analysis)


Federzoni grinds the lenses for Galileo Galilei’s first telescope, a simple task that somehow makes him another of Galileo’s students (despite being older than either Andrea or the Little Monk). While a skilled… (read full character analysis)

Cardinal Barberini (later Pope Urban VIII)

Cardinal Barberini, who later became Pope Urban VIII, has few speaking lines in Life of Galileo, but he nevertheless has a huge impact on the life of Galileo Galilei and his followers. A mathematician… (read full character analysis)
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Ludovico Marsili

Ludovico (whose name literally means “I play at the house” in Latin) is a rich young playboy whose primary interest is his horses. His mother, however, demands that he be educated broadly and by the… (read full character analysis)

Mrs. Sarti

Mrs. Sarti is Galileo Galilei’s housekeeper and mother to Andrea. While Galileo thinks only about the Sun, Moon, and planets, Sarti must think of practical things like the monetary situation of the household… (read full character analysis)

The Procurator

The Procurator is Galileo’s superior at Padua University. He is sensitive to Galileo’s genius and need for more money, even if he can’t help Galileo get a raise. A product of his time, the… (read full character analysis)


Virginia is Galileo’s young, naïve daughter. Despite the presence of a Pope, multiple cardinals, and other religious figures, she is the most devoted follower of Catholicism in Life of Galileo and can often be… (read full character analysis)

Cosimo de Medici

Cosimo is the Grand Duke of Florence, though he is only a child around Andrea’s age. As such, he is led mostly by his Catholic advisers, and even when he comes to an age… (read full character analysis)

Father Christopher Clavius

Clavius, like Barberini, is a minor character with few lines, but with an exceptionally important role. As the Vatican’s chief scientist, it is Clavius who makes the determination that Galileo’s proof of Copernicus’ system… (read full character analysis)


Sagredo is a minor character who serves as a “canary in the coal mine” for Galileo. He does this by reminding the astronomer of the real-world consequences of his theories, which include, among other things… (read full character analysis)