Aston Cokain

THE OBSTINATE LADY

circa 1630–1642

a synoptic, alphabetical character list

ANCLETHE

Disguise adopted by Cleanthe. Anclethe is a male servant, a disguise adopted by Cleanthe with the aid of Phyginois, and retained throughout most of the play. She takes on this disguise in order to follow, serve, and observe her beloved Carionil. Discovered weeping in this disguise by Carionil, she 'confesses' that she cries out of sympathy for her master's unhappiness over his unrequited love of Lucora, and pledges her life to recovering Carionil's happiness. She reassures him as he loses hope, and when he stabs himself out of frantic misery at his most recent rejection, she believes him dead, agonizes, curses Lucora, and vows to follow him in death. Before she can kill herself she is interrupted by Falorus, and agrees to spread the word that Carionil is dead, although he has merely fainted and quickly recovers. She participates in Falorus's plan to reveal Lucora's true feelings by bringing Lucora to the feigned deathbed of Carionil. In her last scenes in this disguise, Anclethe is told by Carionil that he no longer loves Lucora, and she offers to introduce him to another woman, who will be herself undisguised.

ANTIPHILA

A young lady pursued by Polidacre and Philander (father and son). She is unimpressed with the love poems of Philander, and indicates that she would as soon marry Polidacre as Philander, although she doesn't really care for either. She is wooed by Polidacre as his disguised wife observes, and she agrees to help him persuade his daughter Lucora to marry the man he has chosen for her, Falorus. Antiphila is later wooed by Philander, whom she rejects, scolding him for his persistence. In order to be rid of him, she tells him that she is betrothed to another, but not to Polidacre. She names the servant Tandorix as her husband-to-be, and contrary to his recent promise, Philander vows to kill him. This action leads to the revelation of Tandorix's true identity as Philander's mother, who was thought dead. This series of events renews Philander's hopes of wedding Antiphila, since his father will no longer be eligible. In response to his machinations, Antiphila sends a letter to Philander agreeing to marry him if his father will not have her. In the end, she is forced to fulfill this commitment to marry Philander.

BOY

Performs in a masque with Jaques and Hymen before the lovers Vandona and Lorece, singing a song with the others about the proper behavior of husbands and wives.

BROTHER of PHYGINOIS

A "ghost character." Cleanthe's Nurse stole her with the intention of marrying her to this boy, Nurse's oldest son, in order to improve his fortune. Phyginois thwarts the plot.

CARIONIL

Carionil suffers from unrequited love for Lucora. He is encouraged by his close friend, Falorus, and the servant Anclethe, not to give up hope, despite having overheard Lucora reject marriage and devote herself to Diana. Carionil confesses his love to Lucora, and she ridicules him for his excess passion. He imagines the destruction of the world, and the creation of a new one in which his desires might be fulfilled. Falorus reveals to Carionil that Lucora's father has chosen Falorus to wed Lucora, but insists that he will reject her. Carionil is nevertheless frantic, and challenges Falorus to a duel. Falorus refuses, and Carionil debates the relative values of friendship and love. Convinced that love outweighs friendship, he renews the challenge, but Falorus refuses, reassures him, and they exit together firm in their friendship. Carionil, convinced that he cannot win Lucora's heart, laments to Cleanthe and is comforted. As they speak, a response to his love-letter arrives, rejecting his suit and insisting that he desist from pursuing Lucora. In emotional agony, Carionil stabs himself intending to end his suffering. He fails in his attempt, recovers and demands the knife again, but is convinced by the recently entered Falorus that he may still achieve his desire. He is declared dead by Cleanthe and Florus, as part of their plot to reveal Lucora's true feelings for Carionil. Carionil takes a potion and achieves a death-like state; Lucora is summoned to witness his death, with hopes that she will relent in her rejection of him. She remains unmoved, vows she could never love him, and leaves. When he revives and is told what transpired, he becomes frantic once again, and Falorus hatches a new plot to win through which Carionil might win Lucora's heart. At Falorus's instigation, Carionil disguises himself as an Ethiopian, Tucapelo, and wins Lucora's heart immediately. They plan to elope, but as she arrives on the street to run off to Ethiopia with him, he realizes that he cannot love a woman who would choose such a man rather than himself, and he cruelly rejects her. When she threatens to kill herself because of his rejection, he reveals his actual identity, and she is instantly cured. He vows not to reveal her near-elopement, and they part. He reveals to Anclethe that he no longer loves Lucora, and Anclethe offers to introduce him to a new woman. He agrees, meets the undisguised Cleanthe the following morning, and falls instantly in love with her. She reveals her actual identity as the long-lost daughter of Rosinda and Polidacre, and he agrees to marry her before her father can object. Falorus enters, having suddenly fallen in love with Lucora. He is grieved by this transgression against Corionil, and begs Corionil to kill him. Corionil refuses, guesses the cause of his friend's grief, and again refuses to kill him. At last, Carionil explains that he no longer loves Lucora, and offers to intercede on his friend's behalf, to ensure that Lucora will agree to the marriage. After marrying Cleanthe, Carionil arrives with his new bride at the home of Polidacre, they both explain their former disguises, and they receive the blessings of her parents.

CARIONIL'S GRANDFATHER

A "ghost character." Discussion between Carionil and Falorus reveals that Carionil's grandfather killed Lucora's grandfather in a duel. Although she doesn't hold it against him, her father does.

CLEANTHE

Long-lost daughter of Polidacre and Rosinda, sister of Philander and Lucora> Her actual identity remains undiscovered until the end of the play. With the aid of Phyginois, Cleanthe adopts the disguise of Anclethe and retains it throughout most of the play. She takes on this disguise in order to follow, serve, and observe her beloved Carionil. Discovered weeping in this disguise by Carionil, she "confesses" that she cries out of sympathy for her master's unhappiness over his unrequited love of Lucora, and pledges her life to recovering Carionil's happiness. She reassures him as he loses hope, and when he stabs himself out of frantic misery at his most recent rejection, she believes him dead, agonizes, curses Lucora, and vows to follow him in death. Before she can kill herself she is interrupted by Falorus, and agrees to spread the word that Carionil is dead, although he has merely fainted and quickly recovers. She participates in Falorus's plan to reveal Lucora's true feelings, by bringing Lucora to the feigned deathbed of Carionil. In her last scenes in this disguise, Anclethe is told by Carionil that he no longer loves Lucora, and she offers to introduce him to another woman, who will be herself undisguised. When they meet, he falls in love with her, kisses her, and asks if she is the one he was intended to meet. They agree to wed. It is finally revealed that Cleanthe was stolen as an infant by her Nurse, Phyginois' mother, and raised in that household with the intention of marrying her to Phyginois' older brother, in order to improve his fortune. With Phyginois' aid, she returned to her own realm, disguised herself to fulfill her own desires, and helped him in return by disguising him as a gentleman so he could woo Nentis. She reveals her identity at the end of the play, wins her father's approval of her marriage to Carionil, and with a few words convinces her older sister Lucora to marry Falorus.

DIANA

Only mentioned. Lucora rejects marriage, and devotes herself to Diana, goddess of chastity.

DRACULEMION

Disguise of Phyginois. Disguised as Draculemion, Phyginois poses as an itinerate clown who gives windy speeches in exchange for donations.

FALORUS

As Carionil's steadfast friend, Falorus encourages him not to give up hope of winning the heart of Lucora, and hatches several unsuccessful plots to facilitate their union. Meanwhile, he is summoned by Lucora's father, Polidacre, who wishes a betrothal between Falorus and Lucora, declaring him worthy despite his lowly birth. They are contracted, but Lucora asks for a month to make up her mind. Although he agrees to the contract, and despite his recognition of the honor in being selected, as well as his desire to take advantage of this improvement in his fortune, Falorus sees this match as a transgression against his friendship with Corionil. He vows never to marry Lucora, and generally dismisses love as a form of excessive passion. Falorus encounters the love-struck but unrequited Carionil; he assures his friend that Polidacre wishes Lucora to marry, and that her father would not deny her if she should choose Corionil. Falorus then reveals that Polidacre is attempting to arrange a marriage between Falorus and Lucora, which drives the frantic Corionil to challenge his friend to a duel. Falorus refuses, and convinces Carionil of his steadfast friendship. Upon receiving a rejection letter from Lucora, Carionil stabs himself in an ineffectual attempt at suicide. Falorus reads the letter sent by Lucora, and vows eternal hatred of her. Carionil revives, and Falorus joyfully promises to instruct him in how to win Lucora. He administers a sleeping potion to Carionil, and with Anclethe's aid, brings Lucora to the feigned deathbed of Carionil in the hope of instigating a confession of her affection for him. She refuses, criticizes her suitor for his rashness, and leaves, prompting Falorus to call her a most obstinate lady. When Carionil revives, and responds with agony over Lucora's rejection, Falorus suggests disguising Carionil as an Ethiopian, Tucapelo, as a new means to woo Lucora. Apparently the change in Lucora, once she has fallen in love with Tucapelo, attracts Falorus, and he finds himself inexplicably love-struck, despite his vow never to marry Lucora. Grieved by this transgression against Carionil, he threatens suicide. He encounters Carionil and Cleanthe, after they have discovered their mutual love, and begs Carionil to kill him for his transgressive love of Lucora. Carionil refuses, explains, and puts an end to his friend's agony by revealing that he, Carionil, has been cured of his unrequited love. The relieved Falorus is now free to woo Lucora, and Cleanthe offers to intercede on his behalf. Falorus is pleased, but confesses that he was never truly smitten with her. It was only the misery created by his transgression against Carionil's friendship that grieved him and drove him to suicidal thoughts. Polidacre pushes for an immediate marriage between Falorus and Lucora, and she dejectedly agrees. When Cleanthe's identity and marriage are revealed, Lucora requests to be freed from her contract to Falorus, but with Cleanthe's intercession, she agrees to marry him after all.

HYMEN

Hymen appears in a masque with Jaques and Boy, performed before Vandona and Lorece as they woo. Hymen sings a song in describing the proper behavior of husbands and wives, then expresses impatience as Jaques insists on the tribute of a kiss between the lovers before he will allow the performers to exit to the wine cellar.

JAQUES

Serving man to the rich widow Vandona. Jaques becomes the confidant of Lorece, Vandora's suitor. Praised ironically for his wit and discretion, Jaques reveals that the widow spends most of her time reading plays and love poems. Jaques supports Lorece's suit, hoping that Lorece will be a kind master if he is successful. Jaques enters drunk and banters with Vandona, pretending to be a great sultan. He enters while Lorece woos Vandona, and offers an entertainment for the lovers. He returns with Hymen and a Boy, and they all perform a masque, requesting that the lovers kiss as a tribute. They are rewarded for their efforts with the keys to the wine cellar. He procures the marriage license for Lorece and Vandona, and arranges some of the details of their wedding feast. Jaques appears briefly at the end of the play, expressing amazement that Phyginois was disguised as the witty Draculemion.

LORD FALORUS

A "ghost character." Father of Falorus, who presented a ring to Cleanthe at her baptism; this ring serves to positively identify her at the end of the play.

LORECE

Falorus's wild brother. Lorece woos and wins the widow Vandona. Early in the play, he banters with Anclethe about his insufficient masculinity, then sings a song rejecting Diana and favoring Bacchus as the god who defeats virginity. Lacking the means to woo the widow, he seeks advice from Jaques, her servant. Lorece and Jaques encounter Phyginois disguised as Draculemion, whom they mistake as a necromancer. Lorece gives a donation to Draculemion for reciting an oration. Lorece confesses his love freely to Vandona, and woos her with love poems and outrageous tales of his travels. She finds him suitable as a husband, if rather wild, and when he asks for her hand, she indicates that she might agree in a month or two. He continues to woo her, and she continues to put him off, but finally agrees. Nevertheless, she refuses to set a date. They are finally brought together through the masque of Jaques, Hymen, and Boy, after which they exchange a kiss. They send Jaques for a license, and put him in charge of the wedding preparations. They plan to invite Polidacre and his household to celebrate with them. They arrive to make the invitation, and Lorece announces his good fortune. His brother Falorus responds with is own announcement, of Lucora's agreement to marry him, despite her lack of love or enthusiasm. Lorece expresses amazement that Carionil is alive.

LUCORA

The titular obstinate lady. Lucora is daughter of Polidacre and Rosinda, sister to Philander and the long-lost Cleanthe. Carionil and Falorus overhear her as she commits herself to Diana, rejecting marriage in general, and Carionil's suit in particular. Polidacre insists that she must marry, and selects Falorus as a virtuous and worthy husband. Before her response to her father's importunities is made known, she appears in an exchange with Carionil, in which he declares his love, and she vehemently rejects it, criticizing his claims to be dying from unrequited love, dismissing his compliments as idle, and insisting that she will be "anything but a wife." Carionil's jealousy upon hearing that Falorus may be betrothed to Lucora threatens to divide the two friends, but Falrous declares his steadfast devotion, and plots to help Carionil win his suit. Summoned to Carionil's home, Lucora is confronted with his feigned dead body, in the attempt to prod her into showing some affection for her desperate suitor. She is obdurate, declaring that she could never love him, and criticizing him for shaming himself by committing suicide. Falorus begs her to kiss the dead man, but she refuses and exits in irritation. Under pressure from her father, Lucora agrees to marry Falorus in one month, but Falorus still seeks a match between her and Carionil. Acting under Falrous's direction, Carionil disguises himself as Tucapelo, an Ethiopian in order to woo Lucora. As soon as she lays eyes on him, she is smitten, and confesses that, rather than marry Falorus, she had planned to run away. She knows her love for Tucapelo will not be accepted by her father, and she laments that now she will lose her family over love rather than over chastity. When she confesses to Nentis that she loves Tucapelo, Nentis advises her that this is a foolish choice, and recommends Falorus over the foreign suitor. She agrees to aid her mistress in her planned elopement, but having been wooed and won by Phyginois, Nentis refuses to go with her. When Lucora makes her escape and meets the disguised Carionil in the street, he suddenly realizes that he cannot love a woman who has made such a choice, and he cruelly rejects her. She begs him to relent, and threatens suicide. He reveals his actual identity, and she is immediately cured, and swears she cannot love him as himself. She swears him to secrecy about the planned elopement, and returns to her father's house. Falorus, who had previously sworn he hated her, finds himself overcome by Lucora's beauty, and when he finds that Carionil no longer loves her, begins to woo her in earnest. She does not love him, and asks her father to relent and allow her to remain single, once Cleanthe's actual identity is revealed. Cleanthe has a few words with her, asking Lucora to agree to marry Falorus as a favor to her. Lucora submits to her sister's request, and agrees to marry.

LUCORA'S GRANDFATHER

A "ghost character." Discussion between Carionil and Falorus reveals that Carionil's grandfather killed Lucora's grandfather in a duel. Although she doesn't hold it against him, her father does.

NENTIS

Sister of Vandona, and serving-woman to Lucora. Nentis advocates love and marriage in opposition to her mistress's devotion to chastity. Nentis encourages Lucora to accept Falorus as her husband, and praises the freedoms a woman finds in marriage. She criticizes Lucora's passion for Tucapelo, and attempts attempts to persuade her that Falorus would be a preferable choice. She agrees to go to Ethiopia with her mistress when she elopes, but changes her mind when she is wooed and won by Phyginois, dressed as a gentleman with Cleanthe's aid. Nentis helps Lucora escape to elope, and when Tucapelo reveals himself to be Carionil, Nentis encourages Lucora to marry Falorus once again. When the low economic and social condition of her husband-to-be is revealed, Nentis is upset, but Polidacre rewards his service to his family by giving him lands and money befitting a gentleman, Nentis is satisfied and accepts him as her husband.

NURSE

A "ghost character." She is the mother of Phyginois, nurse to the infant Cleanthe, who stole Cleanthe as an infant in order to raise her and wed her to Phyginois' older brother.

PAGE

This character is identified in the first edition as Tandorix. He summons Falorus to Polidacre's presence so that Polidacre can offer him Lucora's hand in marriage.

PERIMONT

A fictitious character. Perimont invented by Philander to protect his mother's identity, once he realizes that she is alive and has been operating as his father's page, Tandorix. Philander informs Antiphila that Tandorix has been revealed to be a woman, who is posing as Tandorix in order to discover why Perimont, the invented character, does not love her.

PHILANDER

Philander (also spelled Phylander), is the son of Polidacre and Rosinda, brother of Lucora and Cleanthe. He is in competition with his father for the hand of Antiphila. Antiphila finds him ridiculous, and scoffs at his love poetry and his marriage suit. When he throws himself at her, she ridicules and rejects him, but he insists this rejection isn't heartfelt. He laments that his father is his rival for Antiphila's love, and casts himself into the hands of fate. Philander again woos Antiphila, and is again rejected. She scolds him for pestering her, and to be rid of him, tells him she is contracted to another, but that it is not his father. Philander threatens to kill his successful rival, and demands to know his name. Antiphila persuades him not to challenge his rival, and when he agrees, she fabricates the story that she is betrothed to Tandorix, a man far beneath her. Philander goes back on his vow and sets off to challenge Tandorix. When he does so, Tanbdorix reveals that he is actually Rosinda, Philander's mother whom all believed to be dead. She explains that she sent word of her own death and adopted the disguise of a servant in order to watch and test Polidacre, to see if he would remain faithful to her even after her death. Philander is vowed to secrecy, and has renewed hopes for the hand of Antiphila. He sends a letter to her requesting her to accept him as her husband if her marriage to his father is not possible. She sends back a letter agreeing, but assuring him that he has no reason to hope. In order to protect his mother's secret, Philander invents the story that when he challenged Tandorix, Tandorix was revealed to be a woman, who was posing as Tandorix in order to discover why Perimont, an invented character, does not love her. At the end of the play, Philander enters with the masked Rosinda. The revelation of her actual identity stops the marriage between Polidacre and Antiphila. Philander then claims his right to marry Antiphila, according to her earlier agreement.

PHYGINOIS

Son of the scheming Nurse who stole the infant Cleanthe. Phyginois is an Englishman of low status and means who assists Cleanthe in her return to her family. He also appears as Draculemion, a traveling orator and dancer who performs in exchange for donations. Cleanthe helps him as well, by dressing him as a gentleman. In this clothing, he is introduced to Lorece, Vandona, Falorus, and Vandona's sister Nentis. Later, Phyginois woos and wins the heart of Nentis, who believes him to be a gentleman. He accompanies the undisguised Cleanthe in her encounter with Carionil, and Phyginois' actual status and identity are revealed. They are revealed again in the closing scene, as he explains his mother's plot to marry Cleanthe to his older brother. His own virtue prodded him to assist her escape, and he also produces the ring, presented by Falorus's father to the infant Cleanthe at her baptism. This material evidence confirms her identity. Grateful for his assistance to his daughter, Polidacre awards Phyginois with the means of a gentleman, which he is free to bequeath to his posterity. With his new status established, Nentis agrees to marry him. Phyginois' final act is to request pardon for his mother, which is granted.

POLIDACRE

Polidacre is the father of Philander, Lucora, and Cleanthe, husband of the apparently deceased Rosinda, and suitor to Antiphila. Intending to overcome Lucora's commitment to chastity, he attempts to arrange a marriage between Falorus and Lucora, choosing the virtuous Falorus despite his lack of status and means. He is opposed to the hopeful Carionil as a son-in-law because Carionil's grandfather killed Lucora's grandfather in a duel. Believing his wife to be dead, Polidacre woos Antiphila. She begins to respond positively, and he enlists her aid in persuading Lucora to wed. Lucora resists. He accuses his daughter of loving someone beneath her, and attempts to persuade her to accept Falorus. She denies being in love, and resists accepting Falorus. At a private banquet, Philander continues to woo Antiphila, and she accepts his love. The characters all assemble at the house of Polidacre, and he forgives Carionil's family for the transgression against his own. He blesses the union of Cleanthe and Carionil, rejoicing in the return of his long-lost daughter. He introduces Antiphila as his wife-to-be. Rosinda enters and reveals herself, and he is pleased to have her back, asking her forgiveness for his frailty. He rewards Phyginois for his aid to Cleanthe, making possible the happy union of Nentis and Phyginois. When Lucora requests to be freed from her contract to Falorus, he chastises her, then thanks her for agreeing to adhere to her commitment. He invites the whole company to dine with him, to celebrate and to plan the weddings of the various couples.

PRACULEMEN

Only mentioned. Jaques's misnomer for Phyginois/Draculemion.

ROSINDA

Disguised throughout the play as Tandorix, Polidacre's servant. Rosinda's actual identity is revealed first to the audience, when she explains that she sent a false announcement of her drowning to her family, then arrived in the disguise of Tandorix to follow and observe her husband, to see if he would adhere to his vow to remain single if she should die. Tandorix delivers a letter of rejection from Lucora to Carionil, and she sympathizes with his situation, revealing that she favors him as a husband for her daughter. As Tandorix, she is present when her husband woos Antiphila, and vows to interfere with this suit. Still in disguise as Tandorix to the play's characters, Rosinda pities Lucora as she is pressured to wed Falrous. She dismisses the enmity between her family and Carionil's and wishes her daughter could marry him. When her son Philander challenges her to a duel, having been misled into believing Tandorix is contracted to Antiphila, she reveals her identity to him and vows him to secrecy. Her son is overjoyed at the recovery of his mother, and agrees to keep her secret. She enters masked at the end of the play, accompanied by Philander. he disrupts the wedding announcement of Polidacre and Antiphila by revealing her identity at last, is joyfully reunited with her two daughters, and forgives her husband for his frailty.

SERVANT

Delivers a letter from Antiphila to Philander, declaring that if she does not marry his father, she'll marry him.

TANDORIX

Disguise adopted throughout the play by Rosinda. Rosinda's actual identity is revealed first to the audience, when she explains that she sent a false announcement of her drowning to her family, then arrived in the disguise of Tandorix to follow and observe her husband, to see if he would adhere to his vow to remain single if she should die. Tandorix delivers a letter of rejection from Lucora to Carionil, and she sympathizes with his situation, revealing that she favors him as a husband for her daughter. As Tandorix, she is present when her husband woos Antiphila, and vows to interfere with this suit. Still in disguise as Tandorix to the play's characters, Rosinda pities Lucora as she is pressured to wed Falrous. She dismisses the enmity between her family and Carionil's and wishes her daughter could marry him. When her son Philander challenges her to a duel, having been misled into believing Tandorix is contracted to Antiphila, she reveals her identity to him and vows him to secrecy. Her son is overjoyed at the recovery of his mother, and agrees to keep her secret. She enters masked but no longer disguised at the end of the play, accompanied by Philander. She disrupts the wedding announcement of Polidacre and Antiphila by revealing her identity at last, is joyfully reunited with her two daughters, and forgives her husband for his frailty. In the first edition of this play, Tandorix was the page's name.

TUCAPELO

Disguise adopted by Carionil to attempt to woo Lucora. In this Ethiopian guise, he ingratiates himself with her father, and wins her heart immediately. They arrange to elope, but when she comes to him on the street, he realizes he cannot love a woman who has chosen Tucapelo over him, and cruelly rejects her. When she threatens suicide, he reveals his true identity, and she is immediately cured of her love.

VANDONA

Vandona is a wealthy widow and sister of Nentis, Lucora's serving-woman. She employs Jaques, and banters with him about his drinking. Jaques informs Lorece, a potential suitor of Vandona, that she spends all of her time reading plays and love poetry, and is no housewife. She is wooed by the wild Lorece, brother of Falorus, and plays hard to get, but is generally amenable to his suit and agrees to marry him in due time. Watches a masque performed by Jaques, Hymen, and Boy, after which she exchanges kisses with Lorece, and rewards Jaques and his companions with the keys to the wine cellar. Vandona and Lorece obtain a marriage license through Jaques, and begin to plan their wedding. They arrive at the house of Polidacre to make their wedding announcement. They are included with the others at the end of the play in the invitation to dine with Polidacre and plan the weddings.