["William Shakespeare" on title page seriously questioned]
[Thomas Dekker?]
(Shakespeare Apocrypha)


a synoptic, alphabetical character list


Non-speaking role. The torchbearer of the Citizen's Wife.


A servant of Sir Lancelot. He sulks because Daffodil gets all the best jobs. But unlike Daffodil, Artichoke is weak and cowardly, and runs away when Delia is robbed.


Does not appear in the play. Delia's cousin, whom she is visiting when Flowerdale attempts to rob her.


The name adopted by Old Flowerdale when disguised as a sailor. Also known by a nickname, 'Kester'.


A kind old citizen, who gives a coin to Flowerdale, but warns him off begging.


Gives a coin to Flowerdale when he is begging, but takes it back in offence when he offers to give her a "secret service".


Master Tom Civet is the heir to a great fortune. Although a foolish character, he marries the equally foolish Frances, and they have fun spending his wealth on frivolous things. The other characters warn Civet not to overspend, but he and Frances remain happy at the end of the play.


Sir Lancelot's servant: a strong man, useful in a duel. He is lustful (making advances to Frances and Luce), and quarrelsome. When he steals Luce's bracelet, Sir Lancelot dismisses him.


Sir Lancelot's wisest daughter. Virtuous and charitable, she gives money to Flowerdale even when he tries to rob her, and is content to work as cook for Frances and Civet (q.q.v.). Delia rejects all offers of marriage, including that of Oliver in the play's conclusion.


A former gambling partner of Flowerdale, who refuses to help him.


Serves drinks in the George Inn.


Matthew Flowerdale is a prodigal son, spending his father's money on drink and gambling. He uses a fake will to trick Sir Lancelot into thinking he is rich enough to marry Luce. But although Flowerdale believes himself to be cunning, he is all the time being manipulated by his father, in the guise of Christopher. After the marriage, Flowerdale is threatened with imprisonment for debt, and descends into beggary, finally being accused of murdering his missing wife. He is shamed into repentance when Luce reveals that she was hiding in a disguise, and swears her undying love. Once he has repented and promised to improve, Flowerdale is showered with gifts from the other characters.


Sir Lancelot's foolish daughter, who marries the equally foolish, but rich, Master Civet.


A nickname Flowerdale gives to 'Christopher', the disguise adopted by Old Flowerdale.


Sir Lancelot's prettiest daughter, who is besieged with suitors. Although she favours Sir Arthur Greenshield, her father matches her first with Oliver, then with Flowerdale, whom she marries. Thenceforth, she acts as an emblem of wifely obedience, expressing loyalty to Flowerdale despite his indifference. Finally, she pretends to be dead, disguising herself as a Dutch frau, Tannikin. When Luce reveals that she is still alive, Flowerdale is shamed into repentance by her loyalty.


A rich Devonshire clothier, who speaks with a rustic accent. He is both temperamental and generous. He is Sir Lancelot's favoured match for his daughter Luce, but is disappointed when Flowerdale gulls Sir Lancelot into thinking he is the richer man. Despite this snub, Oliver donates a large amount of money to the repentant Flowerdale in the play's conclusion. He also asks Delia to marry him, but when she rejects him in favour of the single life, he resolves to live as a bachelor, too.


A merchant who returns from a long stay in Venice. Learning that his son has become a dissolute prodigal, he disguises himself as a sailor, Christopher, in order to observe his behavior. In this disguise, he helps his son to gull Sir Lancelot into allowing him to marry Luce. But he also works behind the scenes to ensure that his son is shown the error of his ways by experiencing utter destitution. When his son repents, and promises to become a better person, Old Flowerdale reveals his true identity, and they are reconciled.


Does not appear in play. A whore of Flowerdale's acquaintance, from whom he tries to reclaim a debt.


A former gambling partner of Flowerdale, who refuses to help him.


Guards the door of Mistress Apricock's house.


Sent to arrest Flowerdale for debt.


A low-ranking army officer, whose principal occupation is pressing men into the service. He is a suitor of Luce, but her father will not allow the match because Sir Arthur is unlikely to become a rich man, on account of his honesty. Despite this snub, Sir Arthur generously gives a diamond to Luce and Flowerdale in the conclusion.


A knight of Lewisham, whose estate is in decline. He aims to restore his house by marrying his three daughters, Luce, Frances and Delia, to rich suitors. He attempts to manipulate the other characters, but his greed makes him easily gulled by Flowerdale, who tricks him into allowing Luce to marry him. He is eventually pleased when Frances marries the rich Master Civet, and when Flowerdale promises to reform.


The name adopted by Luce when she disguises herself as a Dutch frau.


Brother of Old Flowerdale, and long-suffering guardian of his son. Assists his brother in orchestrating young Flowerdale's downfall.


A sycophantic parasite on Sir Lancelot. He contributes little to the plot, but is a source of much comic hypocrisy.