a synoptic, alphabetical character list
The prince of Calabria, a young, fair-haired man. Seleucus and Appius overtake Melintus (disguised) wooing Claricilla, and Seleucus takes her from him saying that he is unworthy such a reward. Appius stops Seleucus' quarrel by insisting he make friends with the man. Later, when he woos Claricilla, she tells him that Melintus has her heart and is in court in disguise. Appius withdraws his affection honorably in light of so worthy a rival. Melintus reveals to him all of Seleucus's plottings, and he goes to the king with the news but not before he tells Seleucus his intentions. He will help Melintus and Claricilla escape to Messina. After the duel between Seleucus and Melintus, Appius is able to tell Claricilla that Melintus has escaped safely. He also tells her that she cannot trust Olinda. When Claricilla receives Melintus's letter, he follows her with Manlius to check her haste. He counsels her to send Manlius, pretending to betray Melintus and Philemon, in order to trap the king and Seleucus. He is taken captive during the final trick but is redeemed according to plan and tells the king that he gives his blessing to the match between Clarissa and Melintus.
They attend the king and occasionally speak reactive lines but add nothing to the forward motion of the plot.
BROTHER, KING of SICILY'S
A "ghost character." Father of Melintus and Philemon. He died in the struggle against Silvander.
Seleucus's friend. He acts as second to Seleucus in the duel with Melintus at the haven by the town. He fights Timillus and defeats him. He falls by the stranger's rage before the king comes and has him taken to be tended in the town. A surgeon tells Seleucus that Carillus's wounds are fatal.
The princess. She is a captive of Silvander's as the play opens. The king has taken advantage of Silvander's love of Claricilla and employed her power over him to make him withdraw to a villa where the king hopes to attack him. During the siege of Silvander's villa, she and Olinda escape. Melintus catches up to her as she escapes and, removing his disguise, professes his love for her. She is also in love with him. Seleucus takes her hand from Melintus, saying that he is unworthy such a reward as Claricilla, but Claricilla returns her hand to Melintus. She confesses to Melintus that she knew Philemon had loved her but because she preferred Melintus she pretended not to know. When Seleucus barges into their conference, Melintus braves him and Seleucus challenges him to duel but Claricilla convinces Melintus to put off the fight until she can convince her father that Seleucus aims at her because he envies the crown. She confides in Appius that Melintus has returned in disguise. She meets Melintus in the garden where Seleucus leads the king to discover them. Later, Appius is able to tell her that Melintus escaped safely after his duel with Seleucus. Appius also warns her not to trust Olinda, and Claricilla promises to keep a wary eye on her maid. When Manlius gives her a letter from Malintus telling her he is well and Philemon is alive, she hastens to see them. She reveals to Appius in V.v that Melintus has long been subject to the hate of the king and Seleucus but does not reveal why. She learns from Manlius that Olinda is indeed her betrayer. She agrees in the plan to meet Melintus in the garden as a trap to catch the king and Seleucus (who believe they will be trapping Claricilla and Melintus). She and Appius appear to be captured, and she again scorns Seleucus's plan to marry her. When the tables are turned on Seleucus and he is about to stab himself, Claricilla attempts to stay his hand by forgiving him. Her angelic offer only drives Seleucus to despair, and he kills himself with hatred on his lips for all except the heavenly Claricilla.
The king orders a guard to seize Seleucus after Appius reveals his plots early in the play.
Melintus's servant. He is sent to hold the horses in preparation for Melintus and Claricilla's (thwarted) escape to Messina. He learns that Manlius has "betrayed" Melintus and runs to warn Timillus that he is in danger. He promises to meet Timillus at midnight with horses for his escape.
KING of SICILY
He has taken advantage of Silvander's love of Claricilla and used her power over him to make him withdraw to a villa where the king hopes to attack him. Though Silvander is defeated, the king grows wary of anyone not of the blood who offers love to Claricilla. When he learns that Seleucus has offered his love to her, he arrests his favorite, but Seleucus disarms him with a frank confession and the excuse that he did so in order to betray a true villain, by whom he means the stranger that killed Silvander. Seleucus shows him where the stranger and Claricilla embrace in the garden, and the king takes his "dishonored" daughter from the stranger and banishes him to leave the city before sunset the next day. He is surprised and pleased to learn from Manlius that the stranger was Melintus and that Philemon lives, and he conspires with Seleucus to capture and kill them. Seleucus advises the king to send Claricilla the letter to discover whether she means to accept Melintus or not. If she means to accept him, he dies. In the garden, Seleucus surprises him by having the "slaves" capture him along with Claricilla and Appius. When he is saved by the "slaves," who turn out to be Melintus and Philemon, he forgives them and acquiesces to Clarissa's marriage to Melintus.
Disguised pirate of Silvander's party. He had loved Claricilla and was helping her to escape when Silvander's guards arrested him. Tullius's mercy for a fellow Rhodian saved him from slavery. He has taken into slavery the men who betrayed him to Silvander. Impressed by Philemon's honor, he releases him from slavery but is surprised when Philemon joins with Melintus against him and Tullius. He struggles with Melintus and would be killed but Philemon interposes and saves him. When Melintus and Philemon reveal their true identities, he kneels and begs their pardon, reminding him that he was the one who tried to save Claricilla from Silvander. He laments that Philemon has struck down Tullius, for he owes Tullius his gratitude, and asks that they help take Tullius onto the galley to have his wounds tended. He pretends to be in charge of three slaves who are actually Melintus, Philemon, and Ravack in disguise and goes to the garden to give Claricilla a letter from Melintus. He next takes the letter to the king and, pretending to turn traitor to Melintus and Philemon, asks a pardon for his piracy in return for betraying the location of the two men. Manlius secretly tells Seleucus that he can win him both the crown and Claricilla if Seleucus will trust him, and Seleucus agrees. He tells Claricilla that the plan is working and reveals that Olinda is a traitor to her. He returns to Melintus and Philemon to set the trap for the king and Seleucus. He plays his part as Seleucus's instrument until the time is ripe and he joins his friends in turning the tables on Seleucus and watches as Seleucus stabs himself to death with hatred on his lips for them.
Nephew to the king and lover of Claricilla. He is described as fair haired. Although Melintus and Philemon are described in the dramatis personae as "both sons to the king's brother" they refer to one another throughout as friends rather than brothers. It is not made clear why Melintus wears a disguise until the final act when Claricilla mentions in passing that both Melintus and Philemon have long had the king's hatred, but why this is so is not revealed. He wears an eye patch for his disguise. He wears the disguise in the siege of Silvander's villa and kills Silvander but refuses to pity him his unrequited love. He follows Claricilla and, removing his disguise for her, discovers she loves him. He replaces his disguise before Seleucus and Appius find them. When Seleucus says that this lowly man is unworthy such a reward as Claricilla, he agrees. He declines to give his name or country when the king asks for them, saying they would give him no honor. He later tells Claricilla how he was parted from her and lost Philemon at Rhodes and fears him dead. He confesses to her that Philemon also loved her. When Seleucus barges into their conference, Melintus braves him and Seleucus challenges him to duel but Claricilla convinces him to put off the fight until she can convince her father that Seleucus aims at her because he envies the crown. He plans to go to Messina and have Claricilla meet him there later, but they are prevented when Seleucus discovers them to the king. The king banishes him before the sun sets on the next day. Melintus is enraged, challenges Seleucus, and they go to the haven by the town to duel. He defeats Seleucus and, seeing Timillus fall, fights and defeats Carillus as well. Timillus insists that Melintus run from justice and change his disguise so he can return to court. Running from capture, Melintus must kill a soldier in which act he is discovered by Manlius, Tullius, and the newly freed Philemon. He gives Philemon the soldier's sword and together they vanquish the two pirates. Overjoyed to be reunited with Philemon, he forgives Manlius who once attempted to save Claricilla from Silvander, and carries the wounded Tullius to the galley to have his wounds tended. He disguises as a slave along with Philemon and Ravack as Manlius appears to lead them into the city. He sends Manlius to the garden to speak to Claricilla. Disguised as slaves, Melintus, Philemon, and Ravack pretend to assist Seleucus in capturing Claricilla, the king, and Appius, but they turn the tables, rescue them instead, and watch as Seleucus stabs himself to death with hatred on his lips for them.
Claricilla's maid. During the siege of Silvander's villa, she and Claricilla escape to the king's camp. She tells Seleucus when Claricilla is with "the stranger" (Melintus). She overhears Claricilla tell Appius that she will meet the stranger in the garden and takes this information to Seleucus. She does not hear that the stranger is Melintus in disguise. She trades her information for a promise of a future boon from Seleucus, whom she loves. Manlius reports that she has drowned during the planned escape in act five.
A mute character. The stage direction calls for "one" to knock off Philemon's slave chains when Manlius frees him.
A "ghost character." Ruler of Messina. Melintus avouches that Pelius will give Claricilla all honor when she arrives there.
Nephew to the king. Although Melintus and Philemon are described in the dramatis personae as "both sons to the king's brother" they refer to one another throughout as friends rather than brothers. Philemon was secretly in love with Claricilla, but he helped her win Melintus when he discovered her favor for him. He and Melintus fought alongside Rhodes against the pirates, but the Rhodians proved cowards and he was wounded and taken. Because of his wounds, Manlius could not sell him as a slave and so keeps him to row the galley. He overhears Manlius telling Tullius the cause of Manlius's disgrace as he sought to help Claricilla. He keeps watch on the ship for the pirates and bewails his slavery. When he follows orders and refuses Tullius access to sleeping Manlius, he is forced to fight unarmed against the pirate until Manlius awakes and recognizes the "slave's" honor. Manlius frees him and gives him a dagger, but almost immediately Melintus appears. Recognizing Melintus, Philemon refuses Manlius's order to kill him and instead turns on the pirates. He strikes Tullius down and then stops Melintus killing Manlius. He takes pity on his former masters and the carry Tullius to the galley to have his wounds tended. He disguises as a slave along with Melintus and Ravack as Manlius appears to lead them into the city. Disguised as slaves, Melintus, Philemon, and Ravack pretend to assist Seleucus in capturing Claricilla, the king, and Appius, but they turn the tables, rescue them instead, and watch as Seleucus stabs himself to death with hatred on his lips for them.
A mute character. In the last scene, Seleucus provides a priest to marry him to Claricilla at once.
He appears in the last act to assist Melintus and Philemon. Although the dramatis personae describes him as "a slave but also a great man of Sicily" the text suggests he is a captured man who only disguises as a slave after Philemon finds and redeems him from capture. He goes along with Philemon and Melintus when Manlius pretends to lead the "slaves" into town. Disguised as slaves, Melintus, Philemon, and Ravack pretend to assist Seleucus in capturing Claricilla, the king, and Appius, but they turn the tables, rescue them instead, and watch as Seleucus stabs himself to death with hatred on his lips for them.
A lord and favorite to the king, in love with Claricilla. Seleucus and Appius overtake Melintus (disguised) wooing Claricilla, and Seleucus takes her from him saying that he is unworthy such a reward. He is angered when Claricilla shows the man favors and argues with the disguised Melintus until Appius intercedes and insists they be friends. He secretly considers ambushing the wounded man, but the approach of Timillus prevents him. When Claricilla lies to him so she can see Melintus alone, he begins to hope she is dishonest and will lie with him as well as for other men. He barges into their conference and challenges Melintus to a duel. He privately renounces love of her and aims only at winning her to gain the crown. He learns that Claricilla loves the stranger and that Appius is helping them. He hopes to ruin them by revealing all to the king. He confesses in soliloquy that he frankly intends to be a villain. Learning that Appius will reveal his plots to the king, he prepares a counter plan to win he king to his side again. When the king arrests him, he freely admits that he offered love to Claricilla. He offers to stab himself if he has been disloyal and tells the king of a "true" threat that he is seeking to disarm. He takes the king to catch Claricilla with the stranger at their rendezvous in the garden and glories in his revenge. When the stranger Melintus challenges him, they go to the haven by the town to duel. He falls In the duel, defeated by the stranger, before the king comes and has him taken to be tended in the town. Later, Manlius gives Melintus and Philemon the news he is not badly injured. He learns from a surgeon that Carillus will succumb to and Timillus survive his wounds. He vows vengeance upon Timillus. When the king tells Seleucus that he has learned that the stranger is Melintus and that Philemon is alive, they conspire to capture and kill the two men. He advises the king to send Claricilla the letter to discover whether she means to accept Melintus or not. If she means to accept him, he dies. Manlius secretly tells Seleucus that he can win him both the crown and Claricilla if Seleucus will trust him, and Seleucus agrees. Buoyed by Manlius's plan, Seleucus plans to kill Melintus, Philemon, and the king in the garden before forcing Appius to second him in his taking of Claricilla. He also plans to kill Olinda to stop her talking. When Appius and Claricilla appear to be captured, he boasts that he will marry Claricilla on the spot and despoil her in front of Melintus before killing him. He has a priest standing by, but when the tables are turned, he draws a dagger to kill himself. When Claricilla tries to stay his hand by forgiving him, he is overwhelmed by her angelic nature and stabs himself vowing hatred to all but the heavenly Claricilla.
There possibly two servants in the play.
- A servant announces the king to Seleucus after the duel. He immediately returns to inform the king that Manlius has arrived with urgent news.
- Seleucus refers to either a "ghost character" or the same servant who will fetch Olinda to him in order to lead Manlius to Claricilla with Melintus's letter.
The usurper in love with Claricilla. He intends to force Claricilla into marriage, but the siege interrupts him. He is killed by Melintus during the siege and, as he dies, he says he did all for love of Claricilla.
A mute character. He tried to stab Tullius but missed and is condemned to die after first being broken upon the ship's anchor.
A mute character. Melintus must kill a soldier in the woods while escaping from the duel. He gives the soldier's sword to Philemon to fight Tullius.
A surgeon informs Seleucus that Carillus's wounds are fatal but that Timillus's are not.
Probably a mistake or cant term for Silvander. Manlius relates how, when Silvander discovered that his love for Claricilla had turned him into a traitor to his king, on that day did Thisander fall.
Melintus's friend. A saucy fellow who rails at fighting but fights well at the siege of Seleucus's villa. He jests with Melintus, despairing that Claricilla is honest and therefore not to be shared between friends. He assists Melintus and Claricilla in their plan to escape to Messina. He seconds Melintus in his duel with Seleucus. He fights Carillus and is defeated. He demands that Melintus leave before the king comes to arrest him. He tells Melintus to put on a new disguise and go again to court. After Melintus unwillingly flies, the king comes and has Timillus taken to be tended in the town so he can stand trial for the mischief. He sends word to Claricilla by Appius that Melintus escaped safely. Jacomo learns that Manlius has "betrayed" Melintus and runs to warn Timillus that he is in danger. He promises to meet him at midnight with horses for his escape. He berates matrimony, saying that he has slept with a hundred wenches with less danger that this one wooing of Melintus's. The final moment of the play sees Timillus dashing across the stage with a rope in his hand for his escape. Upon hearing the music and laughter of the wedding party, he realizes he is safe and delivers a final epigram on his delivery from harm.
Disguised pirate of Silvander's party. A Rhodian captain who took pity on Manlius and rescued him. When a slave attempts to stab him, he has the slave executed as an example to all. Hearing noise in the woods, he goes wake Manlius, but Philemon prevents him. He later fights Philemon and is defeated. Philemon, Melintus, and Manlius take him to the galley to have his wounds tended.