Francis Beaumont
with John Fletcher

THE WOMAN HATER, or
THE HUNGRY COURTIER

1606

a synoptic, alphabetical character list

AMAZONS

Only mentioned. Amazons were legendary women warriors. Showing his hatred of women, Gondarino says that the much-praised Amazons, knowing their own infirmities so well, condemned all men who lived among them to death. Gondarino interprets this habit attributed to the Amazons as a just understanding of the fact that any man who has been tainted with the company of a woman deserves to die. The woman hater's philosophy turns classical mythology on its head and interprets history according to his personal views.

ANDROMEDA

Only mentioned. In Greek mythology, Andromeda was the daughter of king Cepheus and queen Casiopea of Ethiopia. Andromeda became a sacrificial offering to a sea monster raised by the angry sea-god Neptune, but the hero Perseus saved her and married her. When Boy prepares to present Lazarillo with the menu taken from the Duke's kitchen, Lazarillo says he was waiting for him with impatience. Such was his craving, Lazarillo says, that it can be compared to sweet Andromeda's waiting for her savior Perseus, when she was chained on the rock ready to fall prey to the sea-monster. The allusion is to Lazarillo's craving as a terrible monster of gluttony.

ARETHUSA

Only mentioned. In Greek mythology, Arethusa was a favorite nymph of Diana, who was pursued by Alpheus and changed into a fountain to preserve her chastity. Arethusa is a character in Beaumont and Fletcher's Philaster or Love Lies Bleeding. In his apology to the ladies in the audience, Prologue says that, when the women see that a member of their sex is abused, they should not think her defect is a general trait belonging to all women. More likely, the author referred only to a particular example, because the play's criticism relies not on truth, but on life's variety. According to Prologue, the poet was carried on the wings of his imagination and the same poet who gave life to Evadne, Aspatia, Arethusa, and Panthea pleads to the ladies to bear with him.

ARRIGO

Arrigo is a courtier in the Duke's confidence. In a street at night, Arrigo enters with Lucio following Duke in disguise. When Duke asks for their opinion regarding his intentions, Arrigo says he supposes it is some high matter of state. Duke discloses his intention of seeing a girl, and Arrigo responds his master is a loving prince. After discussing Lazarillo and the advisability of a prince accepting his subjects' flattery, Arrigo exits with Lucio following Duke. At Gondarino's house, Arrigo enters with Lucio and Duke. They attend the scene in which Duke accuses Gondarino of duplicitous attitude, and when Gondarino promises to prove that Oriana is a whore. In an antechamber in the palace, Arrigo organizes the entrance to the Duke. He introduces Valore and tells Gondarino to wait. Arrigo takes money from the Gentlewoman for delivering her petition to the Duke and then leaves her to wait next to Gondarino, insinuating he might help her with the petition. In a street before the brothel, Duke, Valore, Gondarino, and Arrigo enter disguised. They see Oriana at the window. When Oriana is asked to come down, Arrigo says there is a back door she could use, admitting he has been in the house. In a room with a gallery in the palace, Arrigo and Oriana enter below, while Duke, Valore, and Gondarino enter above. Arrigo informs Oriana that Duke and Valore have found her guilty of dishonesty and sentenced her to death. When Oriana is ready to face death with dignity, though saying she is innocent, Arrigo proposes sex in exchange of her life, which she refuses. It appears that Arrigo had an understanding with Duke to test Oriana's chastity. Arrigo participates in the final reconciliation scene.

ASPATIA

Only mentioned. Aspatia and Evadne are female characters in Beaumont and Fletcher's The Maid's Tragedy. In his apology to the ladies in the audience, Prologue says that, when the women see that a member of their sex is abused, they should not think her defect is a general trait belonging to all women. More likely, the author referred only to a particular example, because the play's criticism relies not on truth, but on life's variety. According to Prologue, the poet was carried on the wings of his imagination and the same poet who gave life to Evadne, Aspatia, Arethusa, and Panthea pleads to the ladies to bear with him.

BOY

Lazarillo's servant acts as an errand-boy and a kitchen spy to his food-loving master. At Lazarillo's lodgings, Boy enters following his master, who instructs him to spy on what is being cooked in Duke's kitchen. Boy returns and reads the menu to Lazarillo, who gloats on hearing it. At Valore's house, Boy enters following Lazarillo. They go to Gondarino's house, where Boy learns that the fish-head has been sent to Mercer's. At Mercer's house, it is understood that Boy is spying in the kitchen while Lazarillo and Valore converse with Mercer. Keeping on the fish-head trail, Boy informs his master that the meal is gone but he knows where it is. In a street before the brothel, Boy enters following Lazarillo, telling his master that the fish-head can be found in this house. Apparently, Boy had followed Mercer's Prentice to the house and reported it to Lazarillo. Though Boy thinks critically of Lazarillo, considering him an ass, he tells his master to go into the house and retrieve his fish-head. Speaking from experience, Boy instructs Lazarillo to muffle his head in a cloak when entering the house, because it is customary among gallants to walk into brothels as if they had the rheum. When Lazarillo is arrested, it is understood that Boy remains behind. When his master is released, Boy accompanies Lazarillo to the brothel to retrieve his fish-head from Julia. When Lazarillo demands his promised dinner and Julia wants marriage first, Boy comments pragmatically that his master is marrying a whore. However, as Boy muses before he exits, Lazarillo and Julia are bound by a form of destiny not to be altered.

DUKE of MILAN

Duke of Milan is in love with Oriana and finally marries her. In a street at night, Duke enters in disguise, followed by Arrigo and Lucio, disclosing his intention to see Valore's sister. Duke confesses he is in love with her. After a discussion about the responsibilities of a prince and the inadvisability of accepting his subjects' flattery, Duke exits with Lucio and Arrigo. At Gondarino's house, Duke enters with his companions. Having been caught in a hailstorm, Duke seeks shelter in the house. When Gondarino complains that a woman has offended him by arranging an amorous assignation in his house, Duke realizes this woman is Oriana. After secret conference with his companions, Duke exits. Duke re-enters to see Gondarino being pursued by Oriana, which strengthens his belief that Gondarino has a secret relationship with her. Since Gondarino persists in telling Duke that Oriana is a whore, Duke demands proof and exits. Duke and Valore, disguised, follow Gondarino to the house where Oriana allegedly entertains her lover. Seeing Oriana at the window of the brothel, Duke tends to believe she is unchaste, especially since Gondarino pretends to speak to her as if he were the lover whom she expects. Duke decides to give Oriana a chance to explain and orders her to come down. At the palace, Duke enters followed by Valore, Gondarino, and Arrigo. Duke confronts Gondarino with his base attempt at discrediting Oriana, yet he decides that Oriana is going to die in Gondarino's presence. In a room with a gallery in the palace, Duke, Valore, and Gondarino enter above, while Oriana and Arrigo enter below. Duke observes the scene in which, under peril of death, Oriana refuses to relinquish her chastity. Duke intervenes and finally asks Oriana's hand in marriage. Duke's last words in the play suggest that true love can find relief after much vicissitude.

EPILOGUE

Epilogue is spoken at the Revival. Epilogue concludes the theme of female chastity by saying that in old age it is easier for women to pose as monuments of chastity. However, when a young and beautiful woman is proved chaste, she is all the more praiseworthy. Epilogue concludes with the idea that the acting team has done their best to show a new example fitting this wise precept.

EVADNE

Only mentioned. In Greek mythology, Evadne was the daughter of Mars, the god of war. Aspatia and Evadne are female characters of Beaumont and Fletcher's The Maid's Tragedy. In his apology to the ladies in the audience, Prologue says that, when the women see that a member of their sex is abused, they should not think her defect is a general trait belonging to all women. More likely, the author referred only to a particular example, because the play's criticism relies not on truth, but on life's variety. According to Prologue, the poet was carried on the wings of his imagination and the same poet who gave life to Evadne, Aspatia, Arethusa, and Panthea pleads to the ladies to bear with him.

INTELLIGENCER, FIRST and SECOND

Intelligencers are spies in the Duke's secret service. First and Second Intelligencer are ambitious but foolish, eager to discover plots of treason everywhere in order to secure promotion. First and Second Intelligencer enter discussing the importance of their secret service.
  • First Intelligencer says the Duke should be grateful to know he has more ears in court than two. First and Second Intelligencer stand apart to spy on the conversation between Valore and Lazarillo. When Lazarillo says he should corrupt Mercer's apprentice to retrieve the head of fish, First Intelligencer interprets his words as a point in the plot, namely to corrupt with money and betray. At Lazarillo's remark that he will not outlive the loss and die bravely, First Intelligencer interprets that the conspirator wants to kill himself. In a street before the brothel, the two Intelligencers enter followed by Guard to arrest Lazarillo. They take Lazarillo before Lucio. First Intelligencer tells Lucio they have discovered the bloodiest traitor existing in the world and gives him their written report.
  • Second Intelligencer expresses his hope for advancement in the job, since in a year or two they expect to be called as examiners, and thus be nearer the laced gowns and have a chance to look important in their office. First and Second Intelligencer stand apart to spy on Valore and Lazarillo. When Lazarillo says that he feels greater than the Duke for being able to eat from the fish-head Second Intelligencer notes the remark as high treason. When Lazarillo expresses his intention to retrieve the dish at any cost, through sword, fire, or poison, Second Intelligencer interprets his words as part of a plot to burn the palace, kill the duke, and poison his council. In a street before the brothel, the two Intelligencers enter followed by Guard to arrest Lazarillo. They take Lazarillo before Lucio. Lucio believes Lazarillo is among those who discovered the treason plot and wants to shake his hand, but Second Intelligencer informs him that Lazarillo is the traitor.
At Lucio's order, they take Lazarillo before the Duke to be judged. At the palace, Intelligencers present Lazarillo as a great traitor, but Valore describes Intelligencers as people who live by treachery. Valore sets Lazarillo free and fires Intelligencers, saying that their healthy state policy does not need such people.

LADY, FIRST and SECOND

Two Ladies figure in the play:
  • First Lady is in a group of an unknown (though even) number of ladies who perform Gondarino's punishment by sexually arousing and humiliating him. Ladies enter and Oriana instructs them to fall into couples and charge the sitting Gondarino. The Woman Hater is so distressed that he says he prefers to be quartered rather than suffer this ordeal. First Lady offers to kiss him, but Gondarino says he would rather sear his lips with hot iron. Gondarino appeals to the attending men to save him from the women's claws in the name of their mothers. Finally, Oriana orders the ladies to unbound Gondarino and set him free with the promise never to come in a woman's presence nor try to wrongfully disgrace one in public.
  • Second Lady is in a group of an unknown (though even) number of ladies who perform Gondarino's punishment by sexually arousing and humiliating him. Ladies enter and Oriana instructs them to fall into couples and charge the sitting Gondarino. The Woman Hater is so distressed that he says he prefers to be quartered rather than suffer this ordeal. Second Lady teases Gondarino mockingly, telling him he behaves like a maid and she offers to box him till he becomes bolder. She sits on Gondarino's knee and kisses him. Gondarino appeals to the attending men to save him from the women's claws in the name of their mothers. Second Lady strokes his hair and asks if his hands are washed, observing they are so cold. She recommends the purchase of a muff to warm them. Finally, Oriana orders the ladies to unbound Gondarino and set him free with the promise never to come in a woman's presence nor try to wrongfully disgrace one in public.

SERVANT, FIRST, SECOND, and THIRD

Three Servants figure in the play:
  • At Gondarino's house, First Servant enters to inform his master that he has received a present, a fish-head. Since Gondarino orders that the present should be taken to the woman who sent it, telling her she is a whore, First Servant says the fish-head is from the Duke. Gondarino instructs him to take it to Mercer's to pay for a debt he owes him, and First Servant exits to execute the orders.
  • At Gondarino's house, Second Servant enters announcing his master that the count's sister, Oriana, has been caught in a hailstorm in the street and wants to shelter in Gondarino's house. Since he is a woman-hater, Gondarino orders Second Servant to tell her she is not welcome, but the servant says she is in the house already. At this point, Oriana enters with her Waiting Woman and Page.
  • At Gondarino's house, Third Servant enters announcing his master that Duke has been caught in a hailstorm in the street and is seeking shelter in the house. Unable to refuse the Duke, Gondarino invites him in and Duke sees Oriana in Gondarino's house, thus raising suspicions regarding her chastity.

FRANCISSINA

Francissina is a courtesan in Milan, who finally marries Mercer. When Julia refuses Pandar's proposal to have her married to the rich but gullible Mercer, she offers to pass on the proposition to Francissina. In a street in Milan, Francissina enters with Mercer and Pandar disguised as a scholar. Mercer is already Francissina's husband, and he tells his new wife he is expecting her at home, where he will be in his study. Pandar advises Mercer to clothe his wife well and let her come back with a food basket for the pretended scholar. When Mercer exits, Pandar instructs Francissina to give him what she promised (presumably money) for having made a city-dame out of her. Francissina promises to deliver and exits with Pandar.

GONDARINO

Gondarino is the Woman Hater and the Duke of Milan's morose general. He hates all women because of his former wife. At his house, Oriana is announced as having sought shelter in his house because of a hailstorm. At first, he refuses to receive her, but since she is already in, Gondarino makes it clear she is not welcome in his house. Duke is announced and Gondarino believes she has especially arranged an amorous assignation in his house. Oriana pretends to court Gondarino just to challenge his hatred for women. In another room in the house, Gondarino enters flying from Oriana. Duke enters, sees her pursuing Gondarino, and blames him for having seduced the beauty of Milan, but Gondarino persists in saying that Oriana is a whore. Duke refuses to believe him and Gondarino decides to give him proof. When Oriana re-enters, Gondarino pretends to court her and invites her to a rendezvous house. Gondarino goes to the palace and then leads Duke and Valore to the brothel where Oriana allegedly entertains her lover. In a street before the brothel, Gondarino, Duke, Valore, and Arrigo enter disguised. Seeing Oriana at the window, Gondarino wants the others to believe he is the lover she is expecting and addresses her in this manner. However, Oriana explains she has been brought there by Gondarino's servants and she is summoned to come down and explain. Gondarino maintains he can prove she is a strumpet. At the palace, Gondarino enters with Valore and Arrigo, following Duke. Gondarino insists that he can demonstrate Oriana's wantonness. Irritated, Duke condemns Oriana to death and Gondarino to witness it. In a room with a gallery in the palace, Duke, Gondarino, and Valore enter above, while Oriana and Arrigo enter below. Gondarino witnesses the scene in which Oriana, under peril of death, refuses to give in her virginity to Arrigo. Though faced with irrefutable proof of Oriana's chastity, Gondarino persists in his deprecation of women. His punishment, however, comes from Oriana, who has some ladies sexually arouse Gondarino, thus proving female superiority. Gondarino is made to promise never to come in the company of women, nor seek wrongfully the disgrace of any woman.

GENTLEMAN

Gentleman is an experienced politician whose advice Lucio seeks. At Lucio's apartment, Gentleman enters introduced by Lucio's secretary. It appears that Lucio had sent for Gentleman for counsel. Lucio says that Gentleman has long practice in the affairs of state, under a great man. However, Lucio asks Gentleman about redecorating his study in the manner of Machiavel. It seems that the exchange is in coded language, because Machiavelli's name suggests secret policy. Gentleman advises Lucio to let Intelligencers through the back door, and so his office as head of secret service will always be needed. At that moment, Secretary announces the Intelligencers' arrival on some matter of high treason and Gentleman insinuates that the prompt response is the result of his invaluable advice. In fact, Gentleman's attitude towards Lucio is at best ironic. Gentleman exits through the back door at Lucio's request, remarking that he will be Lucio's Intelligencer for once. It is reasonable to believe that Gentleman is Valore's Intelligencer in disguise, sent to spy on the spy-man.

GENTLEWOMAN

An old deaf country Gentlewoman is a suitor to the Duke on some unclear property matters and has a role in Gondarino's public humiliation. In an antechamber in the palace, Gentlewoman enters with Arrigo, whom she bribes to facilitate her admittance to Duke. Gondarino is waiting in the antechamber, and Gentlewoman is advised to seek his help in delivering her petition to Duke. Gentlewoman does not hear well what Arrigo says and, when alone with Gondarino, she approaches him politely, but he rebukes her. Gentlewoman says her five daughters are outside and she could call them in to help in persuading him. Hearing of five more women soon to be around him, Gondarino wants to get rid of Gentlewoman, telling her to give him the petition for deliverance to the Duke. When Gondarino returns from Duke's chamber, Gentlewoman intends to give him money for his services, but Gondarino refuses. Gentlewoman comments this is the first time she was refused money since she came to the court. Finally, Gentlewoman exits informing Gondarino she is going to wait outside for an answer. In the final scene before Duke, Gentlewoman enters demanding the resolution of her petition from Gondarino. Thus, she adds to the Woman Hater's final punishment at the hands of women. Irritated at Gentlewoman's insistence, Duke orders Arrigo to lead her out with the promise that her petition is granted.

GUARD

Guard attending the two Intelligencers when they arrest Lazarillo is a "mute character." In a street before the brothel, Guard enters following Intelligencers to arrest Lazarillo. Guard attends the scene in which Lazarillo proposes marriage to Julia if she keeps the fish-head for him. Guard leads Lazarillo to Lucio and later before the Duke to be judged. When Lazarillo is set free, it is understood that Guard exits with Intelligencers.

HELEN of TROY

Only mentioned. In Greek mythology, Helen was the wife of Menelaus. Abducted by Paris, she became the cause of the Trojan War. Helen's name is associated with a paragon of female beauty, but also a symbol of feminine treachery. When Gondarino is alone with Oriana in his house, after the Duke is gone, Gondarino says that the Duke has left his Helen with him. Expressing his contempt for women, Gondarino adds that adders and scorpions on his naked breast seem to him more tickling than the embraces of women.

HERCULES

Only mentioned. The hero in Greek mythology is mentioned in relation to the fact that he has been finally vanquished by female treachery. Valore attends the scene in which women publicly humiliate Gondarino by sexually arousing him. Duke asks what this fellow would do if he should find himself in bed with a young lady, and Valore responds that, if he could get a knife, sure he would cut her throat. In addition, Valore says he would do as Hercules did by Lycas. Valore wants to say that Gondarino has such hatred of women that, should he be in bed with one, he could swing out her soul, just as Hercules did with Lycas's body.

HONORIA

A "ghost character." Honoria is a lady at Duke's court . At Valore's house, Oriana tells her brother she wants to visit the lady Honoria at court, but Valore tells her there is nothing of value she could learn there. According to Valore, Honoria cares for Oriana as she does for other young ladies and she is interested only in fashion, showing her the privy garden and telling her how many gowns the duchess had. Valore implies that Honoria is only interested in money and corrupting young ladies.

INTELLIGENCER

Intelligencer is a spy in Valore's service, who informs the privy counselor on the strangers in the land and the potential enemies to the state. He goes to taverns and spies on the drunkards' conversation reporting everything to the count. Besides, he is a manipulator and a secret agent. At Valore's house, Intelligencer has secret conference with the count. Apparently, Valore entrusts him with a secret mission. Valore instructs Intelligencer to relay his information to Lucio, who is experienced in this business. After receiving his instructions, Intelligencer is led secretly out at the back door. It can be inferred that Intelligencer had a role in Lucio's subsequent exposure as a fool and his disgrace.

JULIA

Julia is a courtesan in Milan. She finally marries Lazarillo. In a street, Julia enters asking Pandar if he managed to bring her any customers. When Pandar proposes to Julia to get her married to a rich fool, meaning Mercer, Julia refuses, saying she could have married a poor knight but she declined the offer. Julia exits to pass on the proposal of marriage to a coworker, Francissina. In a street before the brothel, Julia is introduced to Lazarillo and she entertains him. When Lazarillo is arrested as a traitor, Julia tells the Intelligencers that her partner did not look trustworthy because he asked for a fish-head for dinner. When Lazarillo proposes marriage to Julia in exchange for her keeping the fish-head safe for him, Julia accepts. She comments pragmatically that this is an all-win situation: if he lives, she will be married, if he is hanged, there is no loss in it. When Lazarillo is set free, he demands his promised dinner, but Julia requires going to church first to be married, as promised. Julia exits with Lazarillo to the altar.

KNIGHT

A "ghost character." A nameless poor knight who proposed marriage to Julia. When Pandar proposes to Julia that she should marry the rich but foolish Mercer, Julia declines. She tells Pandar that she could have married a knight, who was so poor that he said he would have married her if she would lend him forty shillings to redeem his cloak.

LAZARILLO

Lazarillo is the Hungry Courtier, a hedonistic epicure who would do anything for a good meal. At Valore's house, Lazarillo enters and is received by the count, in the hope of being introduced to the secrets of the Duke's menu. At Gondarino's house, Lazarillo enters with Valore, who informs him that the fish-head Lazarillo had hoped to dine on is now at Mercer's house. While Lazarillo fantasizes about various ways of retrieving his meal, the eavesdropping Intelligencers interpret his words as high treason to Duke. Lazarillo exits with Valore to Mercer's, where he is introduced as a potential customer for silks and velvets. When he finds out that the fish-head is gone from Mercer's kitchen, Lazarillo exits in pursuit of his beloved dinner. In a street before the brothel, Lazarillo enters with Boy, who tells him that the fish-head is inside the establishment. While he is courting Julia with the purpose of having his desired meal, Lazarillo is arrested as a traitor. Before being taken in custody, Lazarillo promises Julia to marry her if she keeps the fish head safe for him. At the palace, Lazarillo is brought before Duke and presented as a traitor, but Duke delegates the decision to Valore, who sets Lazarillo free and advises him to master his desires. In a street before the brothel, Lazarillo demands from Julia the promised fish-head for dinner, but Julia wants to go to church first to be married, as promised. Lazarillo exits with Julia to the altar.

LUCIO

Lucio is a weak formal statesman. According to Valore, he was made a lord at his friend's request, for his wife's sake. In a street at night, Lucio enters with Arrigo following Duke in disguise. When Duke asks for their opinion regarding his intention of disguising himself, Lucio says he supposes it is to see the corruption in the state. Duke discloses his plan to see a girl, and Lucio responds his aim is laudable. After discussing the advisability of a prince accepting his subjects' flattery, Lucio exits with Arrigo following Duke. At Gondarino's house, Lucio enters with Arrigo and Duke. They attend the scene in which Duke accuses Gondarino of duplicitous attitude, and when Gondarino promises to prove that Oriana is a whore. In his apartment, Lucio gives audience as aspiring head of secret intelligence. After Gentleman gives him ironic advice on diplomacy, Lucio receives Intelligencers, who denounce Lazarillo as a traitor. Lucio concludes that Lazarillo is guilty and orders him to be taken before Duke. Unaware of Intelligencers' failure in their ambitious plans to be advanced by denouncing Lazarillo, Lucio enters expecting promotion. However, Valore admonishes Lucio for his na´vetÚ in handling the situation and advises early retirement. Lucio exits crestfallen.

LYCAS

Only mentioned. In Greek mythology, Lycas was the young slave who brought Hercules the envenomed shirt sent unknowingly by his wife. When Hercules realized he was going to die in terrible pain because of the poisoned shirt, he seized Lycas and threw him into the sea, where he was changed into a rock. Valore attends the scene in which women publicly humiliate Gondarino by sexually arousing him. Duke asks what this fellow would do if he should find himself in bed with a young lady, and Valore responds that, if he could get a knife, sure he would cut her throat. In addition, Valore says he would do as Hercules did by Lycas. Valore wants to say that Gondarino has such hatred of women that, should he be in bed with one, he could swing out her soul, just as Hercules did with Lycas's body.

MERCER

Mercer is a dupe and an affected admirer of learning. In a street in Milan, Mercer enters with Pandar, disguised as a scholar, negotiating the circumstances enabling Mercer to become a learned man. Pandar promises Mercer to see him within the hour at his shop and the merchant exits. At his house, Mercer expresses his admiration of learning and then receives Pandar as a pretended scholar, intending to ask his advice regarding his marriage. Mercer inquires about the heiress the scholar had promised as his bride, and Pandar tells him she will be at his house in St. Mark's street, which is actually a brothel. As for the fish-head received from Gondarino, Mercer has it sent to Pandar's house as a gift, in exchange for the matchmaking with the woman whom he thinks an heiress. In a street before the brothel, Mercer enters in the hope of meeting his intended bride. After a lengthy discussion about learning and clothes, Mercer follows Pandar into the house. In a street in Milan, Mercer enters with Pandar and Francissina, who is now his wife. Before he exits, Mercer tells Francissina he expects her at home, where he will be in his study. Mercer has been duped to take a whore for a wife, while Pandar advises Mercer to clothe his wife well and give her money.

ORIANA

Oriana is Valore's sister. She is fifteen and Duke is in love with her. At Valore's house, Oriana enters, asking her brother's permission to go to court to visit a lady. Though Valore is against this visit, Oriana exits to the court. Being caught in a hailstorm in the street, she seeks refuge in Gondarino's house, but the woman hater tells her she is not welcome. Duke enters and, seeing Oriana in Gondarino's company, he believes she is having an affair with him. Valore enters with Lazarillo and, seeing his sister in the Duke's company, he believes she has an amorous assignation with him. When Duke and Valore leave, Oriana seems determined to make Gondarino appreciate women, and she pretends to accept his invitation to a tryst in one of his houses. In fact, Gondarino wants to trap Oriana by sending her to a brothel, where the Duke would find her, thus concluding she is a whore. Oriana is in the brothel with her Waiting Woman and she looks out of the window. In the street below, Duke, Gondarino, Valore, and Arrigo enter disguised. Seeing Oriana at the window of the brothel, the men conclude she is a whore, but Duke gives her a chance to speak and she exonerates herself. In a room in the palace with a gallery, Oriana and Arrigo enter below, while Duke, Gondarino, and Valore enter above. The men above witness the scene in which Arrigo informs Oriana that she is sentenced to death and proposes sex to her in exchange for her life. Oriana refuses and Duke pronounces her a paragon of virtue, asking her to be his wife. Oriana accepts and she coordinates Gondarino's punishment by women.

PAGE

Oriana's Page is a "mute character." He accompanies Oriana and Waiting Woman all the time to Gondarino's house, to the brothel, and the palace.

PANDAR

Pandar is a pimp who procures husbands for Francissina and Julia. He is disguised as a scholar to dupe Mercer. In a street in Milan, Pandar enters with Mercer. Disguised as a scholar, Pandar takes advantage of Mercer's gullibility and promises him to procure a rich heiress as a bride and to teach him Latin. When Mercer exits, Julia enters and Pandar proposes her to become Mercer's wife. Since Julia refuses, Pandar suggests that she pass the proposal to Francissina. At Mercer's house, Pandar enters disguised as a scholar. He informs the merchant that his intended is waiting for him at his house in St. Mark's street, which is actually a brothel. Mercer offers Pandar a fish-head as a gift and Pandar exits pretending to use the interim of two hours for study. In a street before the brothel, Pandar, disguised as a scholar, is expecting Mercer. Mercer enters and Pandar tells him his bride is expecting him and they enter the brothel. Pandar re-appears with Julia, whom he instructs to entertain Lazarillo and then exits. In a street in Milan, Pandar enters with Mercer and Francissina, who is already Mercer's wife. Pandar instructs the gullible husband to provide his new wife with clothes and money. When Mercer exits, Pandar requires the promised reward for having made her a city dame. Pandar exits with Francissina.

PANTHEA

Only mentioned. Panthea is a character in Beaumont and Fletcher's tragi-comedy A King and No King. In his apology to the ladies in the audience, Prologue says that when the women see that a member of their sex is abused, they should not think her defect is a general trait belonging to all women. More likely, the author referred only to a particular example, because the play's criticism relies not on truth, but on life's variety. According to Prologue, the poet was carried on the wings of his imagination and the same poet who gave life to Evadne, Aspatia, Arethusa, and Panthea pleads to the ladies to bear with him.

PERSEUS

Only mentioned. In Greek mythology, Perseus was the son of Zeus and a mortal woman. He became a hero, fought the Gorgons, and finally saved Andromeda from a sea-monster. When Boy prepares to present Lazarillo with the menu taken from the Duke's kitchen, Lazarillo says he was waiting for him with impatience. Such was his craving, Lazarillo says, that it can be compared to sweet Andromeda's waiting for her savior Perseus, when she was chained on the rock ready to fall prey to the sea-monster. The allusion is to Lazarillo's craving as a terrible monster of gluttony.

PLUTO

Only mentioned. Pluto is the Latin name of Hades, the god of the underworld in Greek mythology. He abducted Proserpina to make her his wife. In eager expectation of his dish of fish-head, Lazarillo chants his decision to do whatever it takes to retrieve it. Before the brothel, where he knows the fish-head has landed, Lazarillo says he is decided to grab his desired meal even if it were in hell, next to the raped Proserpina. He would then become a rival to black Pluto's love and claim his beloved dish.

PRENTICE

Mercer's apprentice informs his master that Gondarino has sent him a rare fish-head. Mercer instructs Prentice to take the fish-head to Pandar's house, which is actually a brothel, as a gift for what Mercer thinks is his scholarly teaching. Prentice exits to execute orders.

PROLOGUE, ORIGINAL and LATTER

Two Prologues were written for this play:
  • The original Prologue, extant at the first performance of the play, enters, telling the audience that an induction is out of date and a Prologue in verse is like an old black velvet coat. Therefore, as Prologue announces, the audience is having Prologue in plain prose. Prologue warns the audience not to expect lascivious scenes, advising plagiarists against looking for matters to feed their malice in this play. The author means only to please the audience and win their interest. According to Prologue, the play is neither a tragedy nor a comedy, but one to make people laugh. However, as Prologue says, there are some uncommon events in it. The scene is Italy, there is a Duke, and the lords, courtiers, and citizens are ridiculed for a particular vice. Prologue adds ironically that the author never assumed that all members of the nobility are wise, or all courtiers honest.
  • The second Prologue, spoken at the revival, addresses the ladies in verse, telling them he would kindly wish they were gone. If they stayed, as Prologue argues, they might be disappointed if they expected the usual ways of address. Contrary to the women's expectations of flattery from their lovers, they are going to hear men stain their virtues and beauty. Prologue notices the ladies' lack of reaction at this announcement. They do not lift their fans to hide a scornful smile, nor whisper to their companion to leave. Since the women in the audience seem to show an open mind, Prologue entreats them to be patient and let the company act their play. Moreover, when the women see that a member of their sex is abused, they should not think that her defect is a general trait belonging to all women. More likely, the author referred only to a particular example, because the play's criticism relies not on truth, but on life's variety. The author hopes to prove a prophet rather than a poet and he wishes his web of words, though loosely wrought, to last longer than any other. Prologue exits.

PROSERPINA

Only mentioned. In Greek mythology, Persephone (Proserpina) was Pluto's wife. She was abducted and taken to the underworld, where she spent half of the year, the other half being spent on earth, in company of her mother Ceres. In eager expectation of his dish of fish-head, Lazarillo chants his decision to do whatever it takes to retrieve it. Before the brothel, where he knows the fish-head has landed, Lazarillo says he is decided to grab his desired meal even if it were in hell, next to the raped Proserpina. He would then become a rival to black Pluto's love and claim his beloved dish.

SECRETARY

Lucio's rather inefficient Secretary has been with his master for seven years but had forgotten to write. At Lucio's house, Secretary enters to receive instructions. Lucio orders him to fetch the gown he uses to read petitions in and the pen he answers French letters with. Secretary is then instructed to call the Gentleman in. Secretary exits and enters with Gentleman, attending the conversation. At one moment, Lucio sends Secretary to keep the door and he returns to announce there are some people who require access about weighty affairs of state, apparently treason. Secretary introduces the two Intelligencers with Lazarillo in custody, while Lucio is hiding behind the curtain. Then, Secretary draws the curtain revealing Lucio, who listens to the accusation. Secretary looks more like a butler than a clerk.

VALORE

Valore is a count at Duke's court and Oriana's brother. He was Duke's privy-counselor. In an apartment at his house, Valore enters with Oriana, who asks permission to visit a lady at court. Though Valore denies her permission, Oriana does what she wants. Valore has a short interview with Lazarillo, whom he dispatches to the dining room, and then receives Intelligencer. Valore whispers instructions to Intelligencer and then orders a servant to let him out at the back door. Lazarillo re-enters and Valore says he intends to spend his time with fools all day. At Gondarino's house, Valore enters with Lazarillo and sees his sister and the Duke there. Valore suspects his sister has a tryst with Duke. At Mercer's house, Valore introduces Lazarillo but he receives a message summoning him to court and exits. In an antechamber at the palace, Valore enters following Duke, with whom he had been in secret conference. In a street before the brothel, Duke, Valore, Gondarino, and Arrigo enter disguised. Seeing Oriana at the window above, all except Valore seem to believe she is a whore. Valore demands that his sister should be given a chance to speak. When Oriana disambiguates the situation, she is ordered to come down. At the Palace, Valore enters with Gondarino and Arrigo following Duke. When Lazarillo is brought in as a traitor, Valore exposes the informers as people who live by treachery. Duke delegates the decision to Valore, who sets Lazarillo free and punishes the spies. In a room with a gallery in the palace, Duke, Valore and Gondarino enter above, while Oriana and Arrigo enter below. Valore witnesses the scene of his sister's refusal to relinquish her virginity to Arrigo under menace of death, thus offering ultimate proof of her chastity. When Duke asks Oriana to be his wife, Valore expresses his approval.

WAITING WOMAN

Oriana's Waiting Woman accompanies her mistress to court to visit Honoria, but on the way they are caught in a hailstorm and forced to take shelter in Gondarino's house. Waiting Woman accompanies Oriana all the time. In the brothel, Waiting Woman is with Oriana at the window. The more experienced Waiting Woman says she does not like the place and says she thinks it is a house of ill repute, but Oriana thinks nothing of it. It is understood that Waiting Woman follows Oriana before Duke.

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