(revised by James Shirley, 1635)
THE TRAGEDY OF CHABOT,
ADMIRAL OF FRANCE
a synoptic, alphabetical character list
A servant of Chabot. In the opening scene, he explains to Asall why Chabot is admirable, though some don't consider him so; he also discusses how Chabot's rival, Montmorency, differs from Chabot (he is more likely to trust others' opinions rather than staying true to his own). In the second act, he warns Chabot that his friends and servants have abandoned him. The Chancellor tortures him (offstage) in an attempt to entrap Chabot. He reveals nothing, survives the torture, and is reunited with Chabot when the Admiral is cleared of the charges against him. He expresses dismay at the state in which he finds the Admiral.
A gentleman in waiting. He discusses Chabot and Montmorency with Allegre in the opening scene, and hopes that the two rivals will be reconciled. After the Chancellor reveals the trial's verdict to the King, the King sends him to the Captain of the Guard to ask him to bring Chabot before him. He also attends the King's commands to bring others into his presence.
CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD
He brings Chabot into the King's presence after he has been condemned. At the King's order, he arrests the Lord Chancellor.
Admiral of France. He is renowned for his honesty and integrity. In the first scene, he reconciles with his rival Montmorency. His father-in-law expresses his concerns about this new amity, and a Courtier arrives to present Chabot with a suit, already signed by Montmorency, that Chabot considers unjust. He refuses to sign it. When challenged by Montmorency, the Chancellor, Secretary, and Treasurer, he affirms his action and states that the Constable has broken his oath. He meets with the King and in a long discussion insists that he has maintained his integrity throughout his rise in the King's favor and will continue to do so. He is brought to trial, and learns that Allegre has been put to the rack. He believes the trial to be another test by the King, which will clearly demonstrate Chabot's worthiness to all. He is found guilty of treason when the Chancellor pressures the judges. Brought before the King, who pardons him, he asserts that he cannot be pardoned because he is not guilty even though he has been condemned. When the truth is revealed, he forgives the Lord Chancellor. Despite his acquittal before the King, the power of the action
against him weakens him. The King comes to his home, and he asks the King to take Allegre into his service and to pardon the Lord Chancellor. The King does, Chabot kneels to thank him, and dies.
In the play's second scene, he brings the suit signed by Montmorency and others to Chabot, and invokes Ate, the goddess of contention, to renew the rivalry between the two.
FATHER-IN-LAW OF CHABOT
An honest man, who comes to court to warn Chabot about Montmorency. Although Chabot tries to persuade him that the two can work together for justice, the Courtier's appearance with an unjust suit that Montmorency has signed reveals that his father-in-law is right. He supports Chabot's decision not to sign it, and attends him as he is brought to his arraignment. He joins his daughter in begging the King's mercy when Chabot is condemned. After Chabot's acquittal, he returns to the court to tell the Queen and the Lord Chancellor that Chabot has weakened. When the King appears, he also reveals, under pressure, the Admiral's state to him.
King of France. He gives his blessing to the reconciliation of Chabot and Montmorency in the opening scene. He initially appears to admire Chabot's integrity when he refuses to sign the suit he considers unjust, but in a confrontation scene, he challenges the Admiral's integrity. Though Chabot insists that he has always served justice in the King's name, the King's doubts encourage him to entrust the Chancellor with discovering some corruption in Chabot's past. He is surprised when Montmorency and the Queen come to him to plead Chabot's case and states that he believes the trial will prove Chabot's guilt or innocence. The Chancellor arrives to reveal the verdict of guilt; shortly thereafter, the Secretary and Treasurer arrive to reinforce the news. The King, who has already sent for Chabot, then invites the Queen, the Constable, and Chabot's wife and father-in-law back into his presence. Before them all, he pardons Chabot. Chabot, however, refuses to accept the pardon because he believes himself falsely condemned. The King then orders the Chancellor and the Judges to appear, and the Judges reveal what happened. He also calls in the Proctor-General for his version of events. Having learned the truth, he has the Lord Chancellor arrested. When he learns from Chabot's father-in-law of Chabot's illness, which apparently is due to the King's lack of faith, he vows to visit the Admiral. At Chabot's home, the King agrees to take Allegre into his service and promises Chabot half his kingdom if only he will get well. But Chabot is beyond reach, and his last request is that the King pardon the Lord Chancellor. The King ends the play with a lament over Chabot's death and his own loss.
The two judges appear initially in the scene in which Chabot is taken away to be arraigned. At the trial, and despite the Provost's attempts, they state that they cannot find Chabot guilty of any capital crime. The Chancellor, however, forces them to sign a stronger verdict, but they indicate that they did so under pressure by initialing it "Vi" (Latin for "force" found in such legal phrases as Vi aut clam, Vi bonorum raptorum, and Vi et armis). They reveal this information to the King, who then orders the arrest of the Lord Chancellor. In the fifth act, they sit in judgment on the Lord Chancellor.
Lord High Constable. He is a rival to Chabot; he is more susceptible to the persuasion of others, and thus is much appreciated by others in the court, including the Chancellor, Secretary, Treasurer, and the Queen. In the first scene, he reconciles with Chabot, but once Chabot and the King leave, the others persuade him that he must work to displace the Admiral in the King's favor. After Chabot is taken to his arraignment, he remains with the Queen to hear the pleas of Chabot's wife and father-in-law, and after their departure, reveals to the Queen that he believes in Chabot's honesty, but that he has been persuaded by others to work against him. He accompanies the Queen to the King to speak on Chabot's behalf.
He reads the sentence of the judges at Chabot's trial.
Lord Chancellor. Witnesses the reconciliation of Chabot and Montmorency in the opening scene. After Chabot and the King leave, however, he (along with the Secretary and Treasurer) urges Montmorency to do whatever he can to displace Chabot in the King's favor. When the King challenges Chabot's integrity, and Chabot asserts it, the King asks the Chancellor to do what he can to discover any corruption in the Admiral's rise to power. He attends the trial, and reports the verdict to the King, urging that Chabot be executed as soon as possible. The truth of his manipulations emerges as the Judges and Proctor-General appear before the King. Poyet is tried in act five and found guilty; though he is not condemned to death.
PROCTOR-GENERAL (OR ADVOCATE)
He first appears, whispering to the Chancellor, when Chabot is being taken to his arraignment. At the trial, he makes several lengthy speeches in an attempt to demonstrate Chabot's disloyalty, but his specific charges are minor. He is successful, however, and Chabot is found guilty. When the perfidy of the Lord Chancellor is revealed before the King, he is ordered to prosecute the case against him, which he does in act five.
A supporter of Montmorency, she urges the King to take action against Chabot when he refuses to sign the suit approved by the Constable. She indicates in an aside that she is jealous of Chabot's wife, and the Chancellor and Treasurer urge her to continue to work on the King. After Chabot is led off to his arraignment, she confronts his wife and father-in-law, stating that Chabot's corruption will finally be revealed. The Queen is impressed by Chabot's wife's defense of her husband and asks Montmorency whether or not he believes Chabot is truly corrupt. When he reveals that he believes Chabot is honest, they both go to the King to speak on Chabot's behalf.
Witnesses the reconciliation of Chabot and Montmorency in the opening scene. After Chabot and the King leave, however, he (along with the Chancellor and Treasurer) urges Montmorency to do whatever he can to displace Chabot in the King's favor. He is present at Chabot's trial, and expresses his dismay at the judges' initial recalcitrance to find the admiral guilty of high treason. He goes, with the Treasurer, to see the King after the Chancellor has told him of the verdict. Despite his own involvement in the plotting against Chabot, he escapes any consequences.
Witnesses the reconciliation of Chabot and Montmorency in the opening scene. After Chabot and the King leave, however, he (along with the Secretary and Chancellor) urges Montmorency to do whatever he can to displace Chabot in the King's favor. He is present at Chabot's trial, and expresses his dismay at the judges' initial recalcitrance to find the admiral guilty of high treason. He goes, with the Secretary, to see the King after the Chancellor has told him of the verdict. Despite his own involvement in the plotting against Chabot, he escapes any consequences.
WIFE OF CHABOT
She, along with her father, attends her husband as he is brought to his arraignment; they both attempt to leave the scene after Chabot is led off by guards and the Queen enters, but the Queen sends someone to ask to speak with her. She defends her husband's honesty and her own virtue, and begs the Queen's pardon if she has exceeded the limits she should have observed as a subject. When Chabot is condemned, she comes to the King to beg that he not believe the Queen (whom she believes is still allied with Chabot's enemies), but show mercy to Chabot. She is with her husband when he dies; the King vows he will provide for her and her family in honor of her husband's service.