The Vine Leaf Characters

The Vine Leaf Character List

Dr. Malsufrido

A successful physician in Mexico City with a reputation for knowing and keeping all the family secrets of his wealth patrons. One day he is visited by a woman in veil who asks to remove a wine-colored blemish on her skin from her back and who will finally see the face behind that veil and learn the mysterious reason for the removal of blemish five years later.

The Marques

The doctor and the Marques bond over a mutual interest in anthropology and the Marques invites Malsufrido to his home to see his collection of artifacts collected on his world travels. Saving the best for last, the Doctor is stunned to see a nude portrait of a woman bearing the exact same blemish in the exact same spot as that which he removed earlier. When he learns from the Marques that the painting was done by the ill-fated artist named Andrade, the mystery of the veiled woman and her reason for removing the blemish quickly starts to become clear.


When the Marques first decides that he must own the portrait of the woman painted by Andrade so he can give it to his fiancé Lisarda Mone Alegre as a betrothal gift, her nude back is free of the blemish. Andrade has also refused to allow him to possess the painting, but the Marques won’t give up easily. It is only on the morning that the door to the artist’s studio is uncharacteristically unlocked that the blemish appears on the painting. What’s more, the addition of the blemish lacks the subtlety of the rest of the painting and appears to have been added in a mad frenzy of inspiration as Andrade desperately tried to identify the person who fatally stabbed him with the very knife that the Marques discovers still sticking out of the artist’s back.

The Marquesa

The senorita who arrives one day with her face hidden behind a veil gives no reason to Dr. Malsufrido for why she wants the blemish removed other than to suggest she is superstitious. It is only when the doctor is introduced to the Lisarda Mone Alegre, now the wife of the Marques, that he sees the face which was hidden behind the veil and understands the mysterious reason for her urgent need to be rid of the identifying mark on her back.


The events of the story, including the doctor's recounting of the visit by the senorita and the doctor's recounting of the recollection by the Marques about what happened inside Andrade's studio is related to the reader by an unnamed narrator who plays no active role in the narrative.

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