He is loosely categorized as one of the zanni or servant characters though he often was portrayed as a member of the middle class such as a tavern owner. He is essentially Arlecchino's smarter and much more vindictive older brother. As is typical of those who have risen from poverty, he is often most cruel to those beneath him on the social ladder.
He is an inveterate schemer. Frequently paired with other zanni as his assistants or employees, Brighella's plans were frequently foiled by their own ineptitude.