The House of Bernarda Alba

The House of Bernarda Alba Character List

Beggar Woman

An old woman who, along with her child, begs scraps from one of Bernarda's servants. The greed of the latter in denying the request of the former helps characterize the world of the play.

Pepe el Romano

Though he never speaks or comes on stage, Pepe is an important character. A young man from the village currently in pursuit of a wife, his presence drives all of the girls crazy and helps stoke the bitterness between them.

Bernarda Alba

The tyrannical matriarch of the family, sixty years old. She is insistent on keeping her daughters in line and willing to use violence and threats to do so.

Maria Josefa

Bernarda's mother, eighty years old. A senile old woman whom Bernarda keeps locked up in the back of the house. Though she seems to rant senselessly, she plays the role of an oracle through the wisdom she embeds in her speeches.


Bernarda's oldest daughter, thirty-nine years old. The only daughter from Bernarda's first marriage. Her name translates roughly to "anguish." A sad and ugly woman, but the only daughter with a dowry, she is engaged to Pepe el Romano.


Bernarda's second-oldest daughter, thirty years old. A spiteful and bitter woman, though perhaps the daughter with the most realistic sense of what limitations a woman faces in their world.


Bernarda's third-oldest daughter, twenty-seven years old. The most frightened and gossipy of the daughters, it is she who gives in most easily to Bernarda's demands and expectations.


Bernarda's fourth-oldest daugher, twenty-four years old. Her names translates roughly to "suffering" and reflects her persistent depression. A hunchback, she was once engaged to a man, but Bernarda ruined it.


Bernarda's youngest daughter, twenty years old. The only daughter who willingly flaunts Bernarda's strictures and declares her true individuality. The tragic heroine of the play.


Unnamed women who serve the Alba household. They willfully gossip with La Poncia about the house, revealing serious class resentments.

La Poncia

Bernarda's head maid, arguably the woman who knows Bernarda best. At sixty years old, she is a voice of wisdom throughout the play, albeit a wisdom tinged with class resentment and hatred of Bernarda.


A friend of Bernarda's, fifty years old. Highly religious and consumed with regret over having let her husband banish their daughter.

Women in Mourning

Two hundred women dressed in black who visit the Alba household after the funeral for Bernarda's husband.