The Life of Galileo


Bertolt Brecht

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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 analysis of Galileo Galilei

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 analysis of Andrea Sarti

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 analysis of The Little Monk


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 analysis of Federzoni

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 analysis of Cardinal Barberini (later Pope Urban VIII)
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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 analysis of Ludovico Marsili

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 analysis of Mrs. Sarti

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 analysis of The Procurator


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 analysis of Virginia

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 analysis of Cosimo de Medici

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 analysis of Father Christopher Clavius


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 analysis of Sagredo