Dekker, Chettle and Haugton



a synoptic, alphabetical character list


A foolish servant to Janicola. His odd wit catches the attention of Gwalter who takes him to the court when he marries Grissil. Later, he is banished from court along with Janicola and Laurio as part of Gwalter's test of Grissil.


A group of beggars brought in deliberately by Gwenthyan to ruin a dinner. They oblige by getting drunk and eating all the food, leaving none for Sir Owen and his guests.


One of the beggars invited to dinner by Gwenthyan. He initially urges his fellows to act civilly but quickly joins them in their drunken feast and leaves hoping the Gwenthyan and Sir Owen will continue to argue so that he may have more free meals.


A young servant to Babulo at court. They joke with one another about masters and servants.


A "ghost character." Gwalter claims he will marry her though he is already married to Grissil. In fact, the girl he brings out is Gratiana, the daughter of himself and Grissil.


A "ghost character." Referred to by Babulo as an authority for wonders in the world.


A pretentious,illiterate narcissist. He tells Julia an elaborate lie about a fight he cowardly avoided with Sir Owen, but when that lie is exposed he departs in anger and shame.


A suitor to Julia. Like the other suitors, his advances lead nowhere.


An attendant to Gwalter. He aids Gwalter in his plan to test Grissil, but feels for her suffering. Told to keep Grissil's new-born children away from her, Furio cannot stay his own compassion and allows her to nurse one of them. Later, he is sent to take away Grissil's children and though he hates the deed, he does it in obedience to Gwalter.


The modest daughter of Janicola. She is unwilling to believe that Gwalter, the Marquess of Salucia has any dishonourable intentions towards her as her father fears. When Gwalter proposes marriage, though, she is shocked but when her father allows the match, she agrees. The two are married and Grissil becomes pregnant. Then, though Gwalter suddenly seems to change his temperament and acts harshly to her, she remains loyal to him, enduring verbal abuse and the banishment of her family from court. She is delivered of twins, a boy and a girl but is immediately forced out of Gwalter's court and has to return to live with her father. There, despite her unfair treatment, she refuses to speak ill of her husband. Even when Furio comes to take the children away and the Marquess is denounced as a tyrant, Grissil defends him and allows Furio to take the babies. Later she dutifully returns to court and hearing that her husband has decided to remarry, wishes him happiness. When it is finally revealed to her that her children are still alive and well and that the Marquess has always loved her, she is overjoyed.


The daughter of Gwalter and Grissil. She is initially said to be the daughter of the Duke of Brandenburgh, supposedly a new bride for Gwalter.


The Marquess of Salucia. He is urged to take a wife and has promised to do so, but delays his choice, saying he prefers to pursue a woman rather than choose from the daughters of eager fathers. Noticing the beauty of Grissil, he elects, to the astonishment of all, to marry her. Once married, he cannot resist testing her loyalty to him and confides to Furio that he will mistreat her to see how she reacts. When his initial abuse is met with absolute submission and obedience he is delighted, but orders Mario and Lepido to insult her and mistreat her as well. Additionally, at their suggestion, Gwalter resolves, on the pretext of public discontent, to banish the newly elevated Janicola and Laurio from court - all to further dismay Grissil. When she still remains loyal, Gwalter spreads the rumour that once her pregnancy is over, Grissil will herself be banished from court. When her children, twins, are born, Gwalter takes them away from her. He is touched to see how Grissil suffers over the loss of her children, but still insists of continuing his tests. He feigns anger that she has been allowed to be with her children despite his order and banishes Grissil, along with the twins, sending them back to live with Janicola. Then he orders Furio to take the children from her altogether and place them with Gwalter's brother Pavia. But going along after Furio, he poses as a basket maker and intervenes just as Furio and Laurio are about to fight. In this disguise he pretends to defend the children and berates the Marquess as tyrant. When Grissil and Furio both obey his commands, Gwalter is once again overwhelmed by their loyalty. His appreciation for his wife only grows when he sees the chaos in the home of Sir Owen and Gwenthyan. In the end, he summons Grissil and her family back to the court. There he announces that he will marry the infant daughter of the Duke of Brandenburgh. Seeing that after all, Grissil is still loyal to him, he finally declares her unparalleled virtue and denounces the flatterers Mario and Lepido. He also advises Sir Owen that a man must tame his wife before she becomes too willful.


The son of Gwalter and Grissil. He is initially said to be the son of the Duke of Brandenburgh.


A Welsh widow related to Gwalter through a previous marriage. She marries Sir Owen but proves to be a trying wife for him as the two quarrel violently. Apparently to spite her husband, Gwenthyan deliberately ruins a dinner to which the Marquess has been invited by dressing in mean clothes and inviting a group of beggars to eat all the food. In the end, she reveals that just as Gwalter had been testing Grissil, so had she been testing Owen. She resolves to be obedient in the future.


An aged maker of baskets and the father of Grissil and Laureo. He fears that Gwalter seeks Grissil to be his concubine. When Gwalter asks to marry Grissil, however, Janicola agrees and becomes a member of Gwalter's court. Later, he is banished from court along with Laurio as part of Gwalter's test of Grissil. He endures this and other trials stoically and, like his patient daughter, is eventually rewarded for his steadfast faith.


Sister to Gwalter. Though she has many suitors, she speaks harshly towards marriage. As the men repeatedly flatter her, she repeatedly rebuffs their advances saying that both the excessive shrewishness of Gwenthyan and the excessive patience of Grissil in the face of horrible abuse make her abhor love and marriage.


The son of Janicola. He is a scholar burdened by poverty. He becomes part of Gwalter's court when Gwalter marries his sister Grissil, but later he is banished along with Janicola as part of Gwalter's test of Grissil. He rails at his own banishment and that of his sister, but all to no avail. He continues to resent and complain about Gwalter's treatment of the family until, in the end, he realizes that he did not understand Gwalter's motives. He thus resolves to be more humble in the future.


An attendant to Gwalter and Pavia. Along with others, he urges Gwalter to marry, but opposes his choice of the low-born Grissil. After the marriage, Lepido admits Grissil's remarkable virtue but still favours and assists with her banishment. Ultimately, he and Mario are denounced as black-hearted flatterers.


An attendant to Gwalter and Pavia. He is one of many who urge Gwalter to marry, but like the others, he is scandalized by Gwalter's choice of the low-born Grissil. After the marriage, Mario admits Grissil's remarkable virtue but still favours and assists with her banishment. Ultimately, he and Mario are denounced as black-hearted flatterers.


A Welsh knight who courts Gwnethyan. He marries her but finds that unlike the well-known Grissil, his new wife is loud and trying. When she humiliates him by ruining a dinner to which he has invited the Marquess and others, he is outraged and hopes for some way to tame her. In the end, he is relieved to find that her behaviour was merely an act and that she will be more obedient in the future.


A non-speaking character. One of the beggars, he is urged not to take bread while Gwenthyan is speaking.


A suitor to Julia. Like her other suitors, his advances lead nowhere.


The Marquess of Pavia is the brother of Gwalter, the Marquess of Salucia. He urges his brother to marry, but like the others who do so, he is soon astonished and outraged when his brother chooses the low-born Grissil as his bride.


A "ghost character." Referred to by Babulo as an authority for wonders in the world.


A clever servant to Sir Owen. He comments wittily on the action.


A suitor to Julia. Like her other suitors, his advances lead nowhere.

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