John Ford


(a 1631 play revised?)

a synoptic, alphabetical character list


Camillo attends on Flavia. He and Vespucci are both attracted to her and propose to share her favors. Each agrees to speak well of the other to her so that she will be disposed to favor them. When Flavia reveals their courtship of her to Romanello, both are penitent. At the end of the play the Marquis, Octavio, gives Camillo, Vespucci and Romanello leave to court Floria and Silvia.


Castamela is the heroine of the play. She is the virtuous sister of Livio. At the outset, she is courted by Romanello, whom she has known since childhood. She tells him that she does not love him, but he dismisses this as ambition, and his worst fears seem to be confirmed when Livio sends her to join the Bower of Fancies which Octavio, the Marquis of Sienna keeps, apparently for his own private pleasure. Castamela is very disturbed by this development, particularly when the Marquis appears to court her. To punish Livio for sending her there, she allows him to think that she has been seduced and corrupted. She is finally told the chaste truth about the Bower by the Fancies (Clarella, Floria, and Silvia) and agrees to marry Troylo-Savelli.


Clarella, along with Floria and Silvia, is one of the three Fancies, the daughters of the Marquis's only sister, whom he keeps secluded from the world in the Bower of Fancies. Romanello, Livio and Castamela suppose them to be his mistresses. Clarella may be the eldest of the three, for at the end of the play the Marquis specifically bestows her on Livio as a mark of favor, while the other two are left free to be courted by the remaining single male characters.


A "ghost character," mentioned by Troylo-Savelli as presiding over a corrupt court and by Romanello as the ultimate authority in Sienna.


Fabricio is the former husband of Flavia, whom he sold to Julio without her knowledge in order to escape bankruptcy. He continues to receive financial assistance from her but is so shamed by her virtue and her reproaches that he takes a final farewell of her and tells her that he will be travelling to a new world. We later learn that he has become a Capuchin monk.


Flavia is the former wife of Fabricio, who sold her without her knowledge. She is now married to Julio, and is happy with him, but she regrets Fabricio and the fact that her brother Romanello will no longer speak to her. She also has to contend with the courtship of her attendants Camillo and Vespucci. To keep them at a distance, she pretends to be flighty and foolish, but her reproaches to Fabricio, whom she continues to help financially, reveal her true feelings. After he has been shamed into going away, she begs Julio to make overtures to Romanello for a reconciliation. Before he has done this she takes matters into her own hands by going to visit Romanello herself, revealing to him that Camillo and Vespucci have been courting her, and appealing for his protection. Reconciled with Romanello and glad to hear of Fabricio's spiritual regeneration, she ends the play content.


Floria, along with Silvia and Clarella, is one of the three Fancies, the nieces of Octavio, the Marquis of Sienna, whom he keeps concealed in the Bower of Fancies. They are widely supposed to be his mistresses. At the end of the play, the Marquis tells Camillo, Vespucci and Romanello that they are free to court Floria and her sister Silvia.


Julio, the Count of Camerino, is the nobleman who has bought Flavia from her former husband Fabricio. He has married her and dotes on her.


Livio is the brother of the heroine Castamela and the friend of the Marquis's nephew Troylo-Savelli. At the opening of the play, the Marquis makes him Master of the Horse, although Livio has some fears that he may be called upon to prostitute Castamela in exchange. Nevertheless, he asks Romanello to cease his courtship of her on the grounds that he cannot really afford to marry and agrees to let Castamela be taken by Troylo-Savelli to join the Bower of Fancies. However, he is horrified when he thinks that Castamela has been corrupted there and tries to persuade Romanello to marry her after all. When Romanello declines, Livio goes to tell the Marquis that he resigns his post and to challenge Troylo-Savelli. However, Troylo-Savelli calms him and persuades him that all will be revealed before bedtime. On this basis he goes to invite Julio, Flavia and Romanello to supper, at which the Marquis reveals the chaste truth about the Fancies and gives Livio Clarella for his wife.


A "ghost character," mentioned by Troylo-Savelli as having been sent away so that another nobleman could have an affair with his wife.


A "ghost character," mentioned by Troylo-Savelli as sleeping with the wife of the Lord of Telamon.


Morosa is the elderly guardian of the Fancies. Castamela thinks her too free-spoken, but the Fancies assure her that no harm is meant by it. The Marquis marries her to the barber Secco, who is persuaded by Spadone that she is having an affair with the page, Nitido. Once Secco has been convinced that this is untrue, he and she are reconciled.


Nitido is the young page of the Marquis, Octavio. He arranges access to the Bower of Fancies for Romanello, but this later proves to be on the orders of Troylo-Savelli. Spadone tells Secco that Nitido is having an affair with Secco's wife Morosa, but there is no truth in this.


The Marquis of Sienna appears for much of the play to be a thoroughly unsavory character. According to his nephew Troylo-Savelli, he is impotent but still feels sexual urges, and therefore likes to surround himself with nubile young women in his private bower. The Marquis eventually reveals that they are in fact his nieces, whom he has preferred to bring up privately. It is never clear whether he really is impotent or whether that is part of Troylo-Savelli's pretence.


A "ghost character." Secco mentions an old man of over a hundred who has recently had to do penance for fathering a bastard. The audience would readily have recognized this as an allusion to the real-life Thomas Parr, who was believed to be 112 and had indeed fathered a bastard.


Name assumed by Romanello when he disguises himself in order to enter the Bower of Fancies.


Romanello, the reasonably well off son of a merchant, is the brother of Flavia and the suitor of Castamela, whom he has known from childhood. However, he is too quick to judge both of them, refusing to speak to Flavia after her remarriage. He also assumes that Castamela has fallen into disgrace once he has learned about the Bower of Fancies, which he penetrates disguised as Prugniolo. He has a chance to rectify both errors when Flavia and Livio visit him in the same scene; however, though he is reconciled with Flavia, he scornfully refuses Livio's offer of Castamela, and publicly repeats the rejection at the Marquis's supper. When he learns the chaste truth about the Bower and hears that Castamela is to marry Troylo-Savelli, he angrily proclaims that he has been tricked, but the Marquis tells him that he, along with Camillo and Vespucci, is free to court Floria or Silvia instead.


Secco is a barber whom Octavio, the Marquis, marries to Morosa. When Spadone persuades him that Morosa is having an affair with Nitido, Secco demands a divorce and bitterly abuses Morosa; however, at the Marquis's order he is reconciled with her, and when he discovers that Spadone has tricked him he holds his barber's razor at Spadone's throat until the latter confesses that he is not really a eunuch.


Romanello's servant announces the arrival of Flavia's coach.


Silvia is one of the three sisters who live in the Marquis's Bower of Fancies and are generally thought to be his mistresses, though they are in fact his nieces. At the end, Camillo, Vespucci and Romanello are told they are free to court Silvia or her sister Floria.


Spadone passes himself off as a eunuch and is constantly resenting comments that he takes to be slights to his manhood. He assures Secco that the page Nitido is having an affair with Secco's wife, Morosa, but when both Morosa and Nitido deny this Spadone's villainy is revealed. Trapped in Secco's barber's chair with a razor at his throat, he admits that he is not in fact a eunuch, and the Marquis reveals that he is actually the son of Troylo-Savelli's wet-nurse.


Troylo-Savelli is the nephew and heir of Octavio, the Marquis of Sienna, and the friend of Livio, whom he alarms by tales of the sexual corruption of courts in order to persuade him that Castamela would be safer in the Bower of Fancies kept by the Marquis, who, he tells Livio, is impotent. We later learn that he is in love with Castamela, whom he marries at play's end.


Vespucci attends on Flavia, along with Camillo, with whom he conspires to win her favors. When this plan is revealed to Romanello, Vespucci is penitent, and at the end of the play he, along with Camillo and Romanello, is invited to court either Floria or Silvia.