Study Guide

Spiridione Tesi in Where Angels Fear to Tread

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Spiridione Tesi

Spiridione is a close friend of Gino's and works at the customs house in Chiasso. He only makes a brief appearance in the novel for a handful of pages, after Gino's marriage to Lilia. When he hears of Gino's news, Spiridione travels from Chiasso to pay him a visit. Over afternoon drinks, Spiridione and Gino reminisce on old times and end up having a pretty profound discussion about what qualities make a person simpatico or empathetic.

"The person who understands us at first sight, who never irritates us, who never bores, to whom we can pour forth every thought and wish, not only in speech but in silence—that is what I mean by simpatico." (3.82)

Gino invites Spiridione over for dinner that night, and Lilia is delighted to meet him—they all spend a cozy evening in, filled with good food and music. But at the end of the night, Gino tells Spiridione that he really must start forcing Lilia to discontinue her solitary walks, and Spiridione agrees 100%.

It seems that Spiridione's main role in the novel is to show Gino that he needs to gain the upperhand over his wife. Gino can sense that Spiridione would disapprove if Lilia were allowed to do whatever she wanted. Even though Spiridione doesn't reappear again for the remainder of the novel, Gino does seem to be influenced by Spiridione's advice because soon afterwards, he begins throwing his weight around with Lilia.

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