THE CUNNING LOVERS
a synoptic, alphabetical character list
Group of messengers that tells the Duke of Verona that the wedding between Prospero and Valentia has been cancelled because the bride has been undervalued by the groom's father. Later, they inform the Duke of Mantua about the Duke of Verona's resentment and the possibility of a military conflict.
Disguise that Prospero (q.v.) uses to stay at the Mantuan court. As Prospero, he tells the Duke of Mantua that he knows a stranger that is so intelligent and witty that he could help him in the construction of the tower. The stranger turns out to be Prospero, disguised as Antonio, who becomes the guardian of the building. He is praised and compared to Hector. Antonio meets Valentia in the tower and reveals her his identity and all that he has done for her love. Now, he is to try to win her father's favor. Being accused of having visited the lady in the tower, Antonio has to convince the suitors that they have been betrayed by their imagination. He tells Montescelso to get prepared to pay another visit to Valentia at midnight, what is heard by Julio and the Duke of Verona. However, Antonio escapes through the secret door before the Duke arrives. In Act Four, Antonio announces the arrival of a Spanish Lady whom he is to marry, and the celebration of a big banquet. Before that, he meets the Necromancer, who knows all about him so Antonio gives him 100 ducats to keep his identity in secret. He marries Valentia in front of a father that discovers the trick too late to do something against it.
Disguise that Montescelso uses to win the Duke of Mantua's favor. As an Architect, he tells the Duke that they should build a shelter by the tower where the guardian of the fortress could dwell. He also asks the Clown to build a secret door on the wall to which only Prospero, as Antonio, would have access. Meanwhile, he is commanded by the Duke to send a message of love to the Duchess. However, he reveals her his identity and his friend's, and begs for her love as he has fallen in love with the lady. He gets his wish but he regrets not having been blessed by his parents. Montescelso has to hide their agreement from the Duke. In Act Three, he lies to the Duke by telling him that everything has gone all right and that the Duchess also loves him. To have the Duchess's love, he plans to pretend to drown himself in order to see if she really laments his death. If so, he will come back to her. But, if that is not the case, he will leave Mantua forever. He performs his death in front of the Clown. In act Five, he will be "resurrected" by Montescelso as a Necromancer to finally win the Duchess's heart.
A non-speaking character in Act Five that takes part in the wedding of Antonio-being Prospero-and the Spanish Lady-that is, Valentia.
Character that takes part in the construction of the tower. In Act One, he is told by the Clown to build chimneys that would cast heat without heat in it.
DUKE of MANTUA
The Duke of Mantua is the ruler of a neighboring dukedom to Verona. He breaks the promise to marry his daughter to the heir of the Duke of Verona. Thus, to protect her from any suitor, he plans to jail his daughter in a tower with twelve doors whose keys he keeps. The Duke wants her to inherit his dukedom in two months, which annoys Julio, who plans his death. However, he has the luck of being saved by Prospero. He thanks Prospero for his brave action and Julio for his help. Then, the Duke discovers his plan to jail his daughter, what makes him be compared to king Acrisius. He asks Antonio to call the Architect, and later he makes Antonio be in charge of the protection of the tower instead of the suitors. Also, the Duke is to send a message of love to the Duchess through the Architect. He is informed about how his love is requited by his beloved lady, when the three suitors come to tell him about Antonio's visit to the tower. However, he is convinced by the noble man that it has been part of their imagination. Nevertheless, the Duke pays a visit to the tower and he realizes that the princess has not been alone when she doubts about showing him the diamond ring that he had given her. Thus, he asks the Duchess to sleep with the princess. That does not deter the Veronan lord to see the lady once more. The Duke is told by Julio about the second visit and he runs to the tower, but when he arrives to the chamber, he only finds two ladies sleeping, who are compared to Endymion. He uses that occasion to ask his daughter about whom she loves most, and the Duchess about her permission to marry him. With her, he is told about the Architect's death by the Clown and he compares himself with Cain as both of them lost the favor of their God-in this case, the Duchess. In Act Four, the Duke recognizes his daughter in the character of the Spanish Lady so he runs to the tower to verify his guess. He excuses himself by saying that he is to look for a ring that he has lost. However, when he sees her there, he gives up and accepts the product of his imagination. In Act Five, he comes to the Necromancer who tells him the miracle that he is to make to cure the Duchess. If he succeeds, the Duke is to reward him with anything that he might wish. Later, he is brought the traitors and is told that his daughter has disappeared. With all the courtiers, he finds out the trick that he has been played but he cannot do anything to nullify the marriage. He will also discover the real identity of the Necromancer, to whom he has to give the Duchess as the gift he promised to him. Thus, he loses his daughter and his Duchess all together.
DUKE OF MANTUA'S ARMY
Non-speaking characters. In Act Five, they arrest the suitors who try to enter the tower through the secret door.
DUKE OF VERONA
The Duke of Verona plans to marry his son, Prospero, with a noble lady, the fair daughter of a neighboring friend, to join their two dukedoms. But, when he is told that the engagement has been broken, he threatens his friend with war. Meanwhile, he allows his son to travel around the world for a year to make him forget about the lady. Nevertheless, he does not trust his offspring, and the Duke decides to follow them disguised as a Pilgrim, leaving the dukedom in the hands of Cosmos. With him, he will come at the end of the play to make sure that the marriage is to be respected.
DUKE OF VERONA'S ARMY
Non-speaking characters. In Act Five the army is led by Cosmo to confirm the marriage of prince Prospero.
Only mentioned. Biblical character, brother to Abel, who lost God's favor for not choosing the best of his crops to be offered to the Lord.
The Carpenter takes part in the construction of the tower. In Act One, he is asked by the Clown to make some doors that would only allow women-and no men-enter the tower, and that would not let any lover come closer.
A disguise that Ferrara (q.v.) uses to visit the tower in Act Five.
The Clown is a servant to the Duke of Mantua. He is asked by the Duke to supervise the building of the tower where Valentia is to be locked. Thus, he talks to a Smith, a Mason, a Bricklayer and a Carpenter to divide their responsibilities. However, they are not more that nonsensical directions. He is told by the Architect to build a secret door on the wall. In Act Three, when he thinks that the Architect is committing suicide, he comes back to the court to tell the bad news to his master. He says that the Architect has killed himself not to be a traitor to the Duke. In Act Five, he stays with the Necromancer and learns about the real identity of Antonio, but he has to keep it for himself because the Necromancer also knows about his making of a secret door. He is persuaded by him to call the Duke to stop the suitors that try to see the princess. He catches them red-handed and arrests them with the Duke's army. He takes them to the Duke of Mantua to whom he tells that he saw them going into the tower through a door and that the princess is gone.
A "ghost character." As his son, he was a loyal servant to the Duke of Mantua.
Cosmo is a lord of Verona who rules the dukedom in the absence of the Duke and his son. In Act Five, he leads the Duke of Verona's army to Mantua.
Only mentioned. Mythological character, mother of the hero Perseus, who was sired by Zeus in a shower of gold when his husband locked her in a tower, as the Duke of Mantua does with his daughter.
The Duchess is a widow that the Duke of Mantua pretends. He is to send a message of love to her though the Architect, but whom she meets is Montescelso who begs for her love. She promises him loyalty but they have to keep it in secret because they are to pretend that she has accepted the Duke of Mantua. Later, she is asked to sleep with Valentia in the tower, where they are visited by the Duke to whom she confesses that she thinks that he is a noble man, and that she will be honored to marry him. In Act Four, when she hears about the Architect's death, she falls in pain and loses sanity. She will recover it when the Necromancer "resurrects" the ghost of his beloved Architect whom she will marry.
Only mentioned. Mythological character, a handsome shepherd boy with whom the moon goddess Selene fell in love, who sleeps eternally, and to whom the two ladies are compared when they are found asleep.
The Marques of Ferrara wants to marry Valentia. Thus, when he sees Antonio with his beloved princess, he goes to inform the Duke. But, together with the other suitors, he is tricked. In Act Five, he sees a Necromancer who tells him how to have access to the tower. He disguises himself as a Carpenter and he is arrested and taken to the Duke of Mantua.
The Duke of Florence is one of Valentia's suitors. Betrayed by Valentia, Florence goes with Ferrara and Julio to tell the Duke about Antonio's visit to the tower. He will be conned on this occasion. However, in Act Five, his luck will change-or that is what he thinks-when the Necromancer confesses him how to go into the tower. He disguises himself as a Mason and he is arrested by the Clown and the Mantuan army.
Only mentioned. Mythological character, son of Priam and Hecuba, who was the chief defender of Troy against the invading Achaeans.
A "ghost character." It is thought that Julio bought a mask from him.
Julio is a Mantuan lord that pretends Valentia. Being afraid of not becoming the ruler of Mantua, he plots against the Duke, whom he tries to murder. In his attempt, he wears a mask that he bought to a Jew. However, he is stopped by Prospero so Julio pretends to chase the imaginary murderer before asking the rest of the courtiers for help. Later, he will go to tell the Duke that he has seen Antonio with Valentia in the tower. He fails but that does not deter him to inform the Duke about what he has heard Antonio saying to the Architect. He wants to surprise them. Nevertheless, he fails again and he is scorned by the rest of the courtiers. In Act Four, he announces the presence of a Necromancer at the court and tells his equals that he may help them to know the future so they agree to pay a visit to him. The Necromancer will tell him how to get Valentia's love. He disguises himself as a Smith and is arrested together with the other two suitors.
Only mentioned. Mythological character, god of the heavens, who broke the obstacle that deprived Danae from any human contact, as Prospero does later with Valentia.
Only mentioned. Mythological character, king of Argos, who imprisoned Perseus's mother, Danae, in a bronze tower. He wanted to keep her from all men in order to protect his rulership by preventing the fulfillment of a prophecy that a son of Danae would kill him. But Zeus, who was attracted to her beauty, came to her in a shower of gold, releasing once again the procreative power that Acrisius had attempted to restrain.
A character that takes part in the construction of the tower. In Act One, the Clown tells him to make a large post in the entrance not to let anybody-but the princess-go inside nor outside the tower, and some windows whose glass would not enable anyone to see inside nor outside the fortress. He is thought to be an expert in squaring stone.
A disguise that Florence (q.v.) uses to visit the tower in Act Five.
Only mentioned. Literary character in Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus (1588) to whom Faustus sells his soul for complete human knowledge, and to whom the Necromancer is compared due to his knowledge.
Montescelso is a peer of Verona. He is Prospero's cousin. In Act One, he announces the arrival of some ambassadors from Mantua. With the wedding cancelled, he accompanies his relative on a trip that supposedly will take them to Spain, England and France. However, they go to Mantua where he helps Prospero to win the princess's favor. There, he will have to play the roles, first, of an Architect and, later, of a Necromancer.
"Ghost characters". They are mentioned by their son when he dreams of the blessing of his ancestors.
A disguise that Montescelso (q.v.) uses at the court of Mantua. The first person that comes to see him is Antonio to whom he reveals his real identity. He uses his experience to know everything about the lord's life, what makes him be compared with Mephistopheles. He also knows about the existence of a secret door so the Clown cannot inform the Duke about the plot against him. The Necromancer tells Antonio to take Valentia to the window and to arrange a meeting with the Duke in Saint Laureta's Chapel to celebrate the wedding. Later, he is visited by the rest of the courtiers. To Florence he tells that he will help him enter the tower during the wedding by making a secret door and he gives him a piece of paper where he can read what to do. He also commands him to go in disguise. He does the same to Julio and Ferrara. Thus, he tells the Clown to call the Duke and his army when he sees the suitors next to the tower. Later, he is visited by the Duke of Verona, whom he recognizes. Finally, he is seen by the Duke of Mantua and the Duchess, for whom he will make the Architect's ghost appear.
A disguise that the Duke of Verona (q.v.) uses to follow his son. He meets the Necromancer who recognizes him under the disguise. He has come with his army to confirm the marriage of his son in case that the Duke of Mantua refuses to accept the union of the two heirs.
Prince Prospero is the Duke of Verona's son. Being asked to marry a lady he has not met, he accepts the marriage reluctantly. However, when he is freed from his responsibilities, he decides to depart on a travel with Montescelso to see the lady. At his arrival, he sees the Duke in danger and saves his life, what makes him win the Duke's favor. Now, he meets the princess for the first time and Prospero praises her beauty. He wants to win her love but to stay at the Mantuan court without being recognized he has to disguise himself as a lord called Antonio.
Non-speaking characters that come with the Duke of Mantua and the Duchess in Act Five when they see the Necromancer.
Character that takes part in the construction of the tower. In Act One, he is told by the Clown to produce some padlocks that would only let the Duke enter the fortress.
A disguise that Julio (q.v.) uses to visit the tower in Act Five.
A disguise that Valentia (q.v.) uses not to be recognized at the court of Mantua. At the wedding, however, she is recognized by her father so she has to run fast to reach the tower before her father does.
Princess Valentia is the Duke of Mantua's only daughter. She is locked in a tower where she will be protected from any visitor. There, she is visited by Antonio, whose love she accepts. However, they are seen by Florence, Ferrara and Julio. Thus, she receives her father who has come to find out what has really happened. He will come back soon when Julio informs him about Antonio's second visit, but he will only find the young lady and the Duchess sleeping. On that occasion, she promises her father that he is the person she loves most. Nevertheless, she is to marry Prospero and attends the wedding disguised as a Spanish Lady.