Nathaniel Field, and Philip Massenger
THE KNIGHT OF MALTA
a synoptic, alphabetical character list
Abdella (also called Zanthia in the first act) is a Moorish servant to Oriana. She is in love with Mountferrat, and believes his claims that he will take her away to another country and marry her. Abdella writes a letter in Oriana's hand to the Turkish Basha, so that it will be believed that Oriana was willing to help the Basha conquer Malta. Abdella's mischief is not perceived, and when Oriana is cleared through trial by combat, Abdella continues to serve her and seek a way to destroy her. When Oriana accidentally inflames Gomera's jealousy and then faints, Abdella gives her a supposed cordial that is actually a powerful sleeping potion, making it appear that Oriana has died. When Abdella tells Mountferrat that she has actually killed Oriana, he becomes enraged, threatens to kill her and tells her to leave at once. Despite this, when she reveals Oriana is only drugged, he manages to convince Abdella that he loves only her, and that once he has coupled once with Oriana, he will be content to see her killed and then marry Abdella. They attempt to carry out this plan, but are discovered by Gomera, who has come to visit his wife's grave. Mountferrat, Rocca and Gomera fight, and Gomera has the upper hand until Abdella shoots him in the arm. The shot, however, attracts the attention of Norandine and the watch, who arrest them. After Mountferrat is stripped of his knighthood, Valetta declares that rather than die, Mountferrat must marry Abdella, and both are banished.
Angelo is the true name of Collonna, revealed only in the final scene as he steps forward to claim Lucinda as his fiancée.
Astorius is a Knight of Malta. Along with Castriot, he arrives to ask Mountferrat if he will attend the investiture of Gomera and Miranda. Both men comment on Mountferrat's changed mood, but they do not know the reason for it. At the ceremony, when Gomera refuses to become a knight, Astorius asks if he wavers in his religion, which Gomera denies. Astorius then seeks out Miranda, who is with Norandine after the latter's victory over the Turk. Astorius praises Norandine and then asks to speak privately with Miranda, revealing the accusations made against Oriana and Gomera's defense of her. Astorius attends the trial by combat with Norandine, and when it is revealed that Miranda fights in Mountferrat's place, Astorius reports that Mountferrat has fled. Before Oriana is discovered to be alive, Astorius urges Gomera to accept her death as the will of heaven. With the others, he is present at the disgrace of Mountferrat and the investiture of Miranda.
A "ghost character." The Basha is a Turkish lord who has fallen in love with Oriana and written to her. Mountferrat and Abdella use this letter to accuse Oriana of treason.
BISHOP, FIRST and SECOND
There are two bishops.
- The First Bishop assists in the knighting of Miranda, ceremoniously asking what he desires and directing the Second Bishop to gird him with spurs and sword.
The Second Bishop assists in the knighting of Miranda, asking him to state his vow, and ceremoniously girding him with spurs and sword.
Castriot is a Knight of Malta. Along with Astorius, he arrives to ask Mountferrat if he will attend the investiture of Gomera and Miranda. Both men comment on Mountferrat's changed mood, but they do not know the reason for it. At the ceremony, when Gomera refuses to become a knight, Castriot asks if he intends to return home to Spain, which Gomera denies. Castriot attends the trial by combat with Norandine, but does not speak individually after first commenting on Norandine's recovered health. With the others, he is present at the disgrace of Mountferrat and the investiture of Miranda.
After Oriana is rescued from her tomb, she gives birth. She appears veiled before Gomera, and Miranda claims the child is his. Gomera, denying the claim, calls for the woman to unveil and is thereby reunited with his wife.
After the sea battle won by Norandine and Miranda, Collonna approaches Miranda and describes himself as a Turkish slave who broke his chains and swam to shore. He asks Miranda for help, and Miranda agrees to take Collonna as a servant. Miranda then sends him to collect Lucinda from Norandine. When Miranda, after a considerable delay, finally sends for Lucinda, Collonna counsels her first to be glad that she is the prisoner of such a respectful gentleman and then to make herself look as ugly as possible for the meeting. When Miranda attempts to seduce Lucinda, Collonna, apparently hidden, comments on the action, and praises Lucinda for rejecting Miranda and Miranda when the latter claims he was only testing Lucinda's virtue. Collonna accompanies Miranda and Norandine to Oriana's tomb and helps to transport the revived Oriana to Miranda's house. When Oriana is restored to her husband, Miranda asks that she allow Lucinda to serve her in Abdella's place, and Collonna steps forward and refuses. He then reveals that he is actually Angelo, an Italian captured by the Turks, who fell in love with Lucinda in Constantinople, and not only became engaged to her but also converted her to Christianity.
Only mentioned. The Second Gentlewoman claims it requires a new Columbus to find chaste Knights.
The Corporal is the head of the Watch in Malta. Norandine hears them singing during a late walk and plays a trick on them by making bizarre noises to frighten them. At first the Corporal takes him for a devil, but then recognizes him. When Abdella shoots Gomera, the noise rouses the Watch, and the Corporal arrests Mountferrat, Rocca and Abdella.
The Doctor attempts to persuade Norandine not to attend Oriana's trial, stating that he is not fit. When Norandine tells Astorius that the Doctor has helped him regain his health, the Doctor replies that he has had nothing to do with the cure, since Norandine refuses to follow his prescription.
A "ghost character." When Norandine teases the Watch by making bizarre noises, they at first believe it is an escaped sow belonging to the Dutchman.
The Esguard announces the arrival of Miranda and Norandine in the final scene, and then ceremoniously strips the cross of Malta, as well as spurs and sword, from Mountferrat.
GENTLEWOMAN, FIRST and SECOND
There are two gentlewomen.
- The First Gentlewoman, with the Second, engages in some typically brittle humor about men. She wonders if Oriana is in love with a man, and then describes how Europa loved Jove in the form of a bull, and held onto him by his horn. She then agrees with the Second Gentlewoman that marriage is a yoke for women, and states that if she married, she would want a fool so she could deceive him more easily. Finally, she complains about the Knights in Malta, who have taken vows of chastity. The two Gentlewomen are listed in the mass entrance for the scene in which Mountferrat accuses Oriana of treachery with the Basha, and one Gentlewoman (presumably the First) agrees that the letter is written in Oriana's hand.
The Second Gentlewoman, with the First, engages in typically brittle humorous banter. The Second Gentlewoman states that she will not marry because she does not wish to be a man's looking glass, and in marriage women must have no passion of their own, but only feel as their husbands do. However, when the First Gentlewoman says she wants to marry a fool, so she can be in control, the Second Gentlewoman objects, saying that it is likely the woman will break his head with her direction. When the First Gentlewoman complains that all the Knights in Malta have taken vows of chastity, the Second replies that it would require a second Columbus to find that chastity.
Gomera is a Spanish knight, older than the other characters but still a skilled fighter. He is invited to join the Knights of Malta, but refuses and, after some prodding, reveals that his refusal rests on his love for Oriana, which makes it impossible for him to promise chastity. After Oriana is accused of traitorously allying herself to the Turkish Basha, Gomera accuses Mountferrat of lying to repay Oriana for her rejection of him, and challenges Mountferrat to a duel. Gomera fights and beats an armored knight he thinks is Mountferrat, but it is revealed to be Miranda, who has taken Mountferrat's place in order to assure Gomera's victory. Valetta declares that both men have proven themselves worthy of Oriana, but gives her hand to Gomera so that Miranda may become a knight of the cross, which requires chastity. When Oriana praises Miranda to Gomera after their marriage, he becomes enraged, and accuses her of infidelity, or at least the desire to be with Miranda. Oriana faints under the attack and is declared dead by Abdella, who has secretly drugged her. Gomera is immediately heartbroken and ashamed at his outburst and declares there is no reason for living now that his wife is dead. While visiting her tomb, he finds her body gone (she has been discovered alive and removed by Miranda and Collonna), and Mountferrat, Rocca and Abdella there. When Mountferrat will not reveal where the body is, Gomera challenges him to a duel and all four remove to the open ground. Gomera badly wounds both Mountferrat and Rocca, but then is shot in the arm by Abdella. However, the sound of the pistol brings Norandine and the Watch, who arrest all but Gomera. In the final scene, Gomera continues to mourn for Oriana to the point where the other knights fear he may die of grief. Miranda appears with a veiled Oriana, and declares that she is a captive who seeks Gomera's protection. Gomera rejects her, claiming that he wishes to see no woman ever again. Miranda then declares that her child is his, and Gomera angrily demands that she unveil, which she does, revealing the truth.
Lucinda is a Turkish prisoner, about fourteen years old and very beautiful. Norandine's men capture her. He at first tells the men to dispose of her as they wish, but when she begs for protection, he turns her over to Miranda, who was the one who first captured her. At first, she is not allowed to see Miranda, and this makes her curious to meet him, a desire Collonna cautions against. When Miranda does send for her, Collonna tells her to make herself as ugly as possible, as protection against his lust, but Lucinda argues that defacing the beauty given her by heaven is as sinful as augmenting it (with cosmetics). At first, she seems willing to flirt with Miranda and give him kisses, but when it seems that he wants more, she points to his cross and asks why he is sick with lust if he wears it. She tells him if he attempts to take her, she will make the sign of the cross to curse him, and Miranda is recalled to his duty as a Maltese Knight. Once Oriana has been rescued from her tomb, Lucinda waits on her and helps her with her newborn son. In the final scene, after Oriana is revealed as alive to all, Miranda asks that Lucinda be allowed to serve Oriana. At this, Collonna steps forward and reveals that he is actually Angelo, the fiancé of Lucinda, and they are thus reunited.
Only mentioned. Mahomet is mentioned three times in the play, once by name and twice as the Prophet. The first reference is by Abdella, in reference to the Basha's letter to Oriana, the second a mocking reference by Norandine to describe his battle against the Turks and the third by Collonna, when he tells Lucinda to thank her Prophet for Miranda's nobility.
Only mentioned. Mountferrat tells Valetta that he is like the Roman Marcus because he does not spare a traitor, even if she is his sister.
MARSHAL, FIRST and SECOND
There are two Marshals.
- The First Marshal asks if the combatants in Oriana's trial are ready, and if the field is cleared. He hopes that Oriana will prosper.
The Second Marshal confirms that the combatants in Oriana's trial are ready, and that the field is ready. He expresses sympathy for Oriana, but feels sure that if she is innocent, justice will win out.
Miranda is an Italian knight who is much respected by the other Knights of Malta. When he is first offered the chance to become a Knight of Malta, he declines, claiming he has not yet proved himself. He then goes off to sea and is part of the battle against the Turks with Norandine. He becomes the protector of Lucinda, whom he captured in that battle, and is then approached by Collonna, who claims to be an escaped prisoner and asks to serve him. Miranda then hears from Astorius that Mountferrat has accused Oriana of treason and that he and Gomera will decide her innocence in a trial by combat. Miranda goes to Mountferrat and pretends that he is convinced of Oriana's guilt, and begs to be the one to fight Gomera. Mountferrat eventually gives in, and Miranda dons Mountferrat's armor so his identity will not be known. He loses to Gomera, and then reveals himself and declares that he fought for Mountferrat to assure Gomera's victory and Oriana's innocence. No one seems to feel this invalidates the idea of a trial by combat, and indeed, Valetta declares both men have served as her protector and are worthy to be her husband. However, Valetta gives Oriana to Gomera so that Miranda is still eligible for entrance into the Maltese Knighthood. Miranda then decides to have Lucinda visit him; thus far he has avoided meeting with her in order to avoid temptation. When she arrives, he attempts to seduce her, but when she rejects him and reminds him of his commitment to the cross, he declares that he has only been testing her virtue. Miranda then hears that Oriana has died, and visits her tomb with Norandine and Collonna. While there, they hear Oriana's groans as she wakes out of her drugged sleep. They rescue her and take her to Miranda's house. In the final scene, Miranda reunites Gomera and Oriana, and then is official invested as a Knight of the Order.
Mountferrat is a Knight of the Order, obsessed with Oriana. When she rejects him, he plots with her servant Abdella, who is in love with him, to have Oriana accused of collusion with the Turkish Basha. He is accused of lying by Gomera, who challenges him to a duel, which he willingly accepts. However, he privately and reluctantly agrees to allow Miranda to fight in his place. He remains in contact with Abdella after Oriana is proved innocent and married to Gomera, still attempting to attain her. When Abdella tells him that she has poisoned Oriana, he flies into a rage, first threatening her and then banishing her from his sight. However, when she reveals that Oriana is only drugged, Mountferrat manages to convince Abdella (and perhaps himself) that he is still in love with her and needs only to enjoy Oriana once before they are married. They go, along with Rocca, to Oriana's tomb planning to kill her once Mountferrat has finished with her, but they find her missing. They are discovered by Gomera, who believes Mountferrat has stolen the body, and he again challenges Mountferrat to a fight. Gomera wounds Mountferrat and Rocca, and is only stopped by Abdella, who shoots him in the arm. The pistol shot brings Norandine and the Watch. Mountferrat and the others are arrested. In the final scene, after Oriana is restored, Mountferrat is ceremoniously stripped of his rank as knight, forced to marry Abdella, and banished.
Norandine is a comic character as well as a valiant Danish captain. He first appears after a battle with the Turks that he has won, and despite his wounds he refuses to be treated until the spoil is shared out. He at first refuses to protect Lucinda, offering her instead to his soldiers, but when she entreats him he makes sure she is given safely to Miranda. He goes to watch the trial by combat, despite his doctor's orders. He verbally spars with his doctor along the way. After the fight is concluded, Norandine goes for a walk and plays a trick on the Watch, convincing them first that he is an escaped pig and then that he is the devil. He also urges Miranda to enjoy Lucinda's charms and to "convert" her to Christianity. He is with Miranda when the latter discovers that Oriana is still alive and helps get her to safety. He then returns with the Watch when he hears Abdella's pistol shot, and arrests Mountferrat, Rocca and Abdella. He also brings levity to the final scene, when he rejects the offer to join the Order because he has too much flesh to be chaste.
Oriana is the sister of Valetta. She rejects the advances of Mountferrat, and he (in collusion with her maid Abdella) plants evidence that makes her appear to be a traitor in league with the Turks. Despite her pleas, her brother believes she is guilty and orders her executed the next day. Gomera steps forward and accuses Mountferrat of lying and challenges him to a duel. A trial by combat is arranged and in the duel Gomera defeats the disguised Miranda, who has taken Mountferrat's place to ensure victory for Gomera and a decision of innocence for Oriana. She is given in marriage to Gomera for his service, despite her declaration that she loves both men chastely. Oriana praises Miranda to Gomera, arousing his jealousy, and he accuses her of unfaithfulness. She faints at the accusation, and Abdella secretly gives her a drug that makes her appear dead. She is placed in her family tomb, where she wakes and is found by Miranda and Norandine, who are visiting her supposed grave. They remove her to Miranda's house where she gives birth to a boy (although nothing was said earlier about her pregnancy). She is happy in the child, but remains sad because she is separated from her husband. In the final scene, she appears veiled, pretending to be a prisoner of war, and Miranda tells Gomera that she desires his protection. When he rejects her, claiming he cannot look at a woman after his wife died, Miranda states that this woman was like a wife to him and that her child is his. At his demand that she unveil to state the accusation publicly, she does so, and is reunited with her husband.
Rocca is the servant of Mountferrat. He returns from Oriana with a message of pity and absolute rejection, and asks that Mountferrat kill him so he will not have to deliver the message. After the trial by combat, Rocca is in contact with Abdella. After Abdella drugs Oriana so that she is believed dead, Rocca goes with Mountferrat to aid in his attempt to rape and kill her in her tomb, but they are stopped by Gomera, who has come to visit his wife's grave. Rocca fights with Gomera and is wounded. He is then arrested along with Mountferrat and Abdella, by Norandine and the Corporal. Unlike Mountferrat and Abdella, his fate is not clearly stated.
The Sailor thanks Norandine after the latter awards him part of the treasure won during the battle with the Turks.
Only mentioned. Norandine asks if the Surgeon think he is like St. Davey, to drop dead from seeing his nose bleed.
The Servant tells Norandine that it is not yet day, and questions him on his plans to walk around the town.
SOLDIER, FIRST, SECOND, THIRD, and FOURTH
There are four soldiers.
- The First Soldier is one of those who fought with Norandine. He tries to get Norandine to allow the Surgeon to dress his wounds, but Norandine refuses until the treasure is shared out. He exits with the others and brings in all the treasure, and then, once that is shared out, asks what should be done with Lucinda. When Norandine tells the Soldiers to decide, the First Soldier asks if he can have her.
The Second Soldier is one of Norandine's fighters. He identifies part of the treasure as English cloth, and then begins a fight with the Third Soldier over Lucinda.
The Third Soldier claims that he deserves part of the treasure because he was at the fight, but Norandine calls him a coward who looked for a place to hide, and refuses him a share. When Norandine tells them to take away Lucinda, the Third Soldier offers to marry her and convert her. He then begins to fight with the Second Soldier over her.
The Fourth Soldier offers to marry Lucinda after Norandine tells the Soldiers to decide amongst themselves what to do with her.
Only mentioned. When Mountferrat believes that Oriana has accepted his suit, he makes an extended comparison between himself and Solomon with all his wives and concubines, and proclaims that he is luckier than Solomon.
The Surgeon tries to attend on Norandine immediately after the battle, but Norandine refuses until the treasure has been divided and the prisoners settled.
Valetta is the Grand Master of Malta, and the brother to Oriana. When Mountferrat presents forged proof that Oriana is a traitor, Valetta believes it immediately and sentences her to death the next day. However, he allows a trial by combat. When Gomera wins, Valetta orders the loser to be executed, but after it is revealed that Miranda fought in Mountferrat's place to ensure Gomera's victory, Valetta feels that both men deserve Oriana. He decides to give Oriana to Gomera in order to wed Miranda to the Order. In the final scene, after Mountferrat and Abdella's attempt to murder Oriana is revealed, Valetta has Mountferrat ceremoniously stripped of his knighthood, then orders him to marry Abdella and finally banishes them both. He then welcomes Miranda into the Order of Malta.
Velleda is one of Oriana's waiting women after she marries Gomera. She praises Gomera to Oriana and then, when Gomera becomes jealous, Velleda defends Oriana. When Oriana faints, Velleda is convinced she is dead.
WATCH, FIRST and SECOND
Besides the Corporal, there are two members of the watch.
- The First Watch, with the Second Watch and the Corporal, are singing while on guard when Norandine makes bizarre noises to confuse them. The First Watch is convinced it is the Dutchman's sow that has escaped, but when he sees Norandine, he believes it is a devil and that their muskets will be useless against it.
The Second Watch, with the First Watch and the Corporal, are singing while on guard, when Norandine makes bizarre noises to confuse them. The Second Watch is at first convinced it is a bear, but then agrees with the First Watch that it is the Dutchman's sow and her piglets. When he sees Norandine, the Second Watch is convinced he is a devil with cloven feet, and urges the Corporal to confront it.
Mentioned once in the stage direction, this appears to be a misspelling for "Zanthia."
Zanthia is an alternate name for Abdella, which is used in the stage directions and by Mountferrat for the first act. There is no stated reason for the change. See "ABDELLA" for the entire note referring to this character.