Christopher Marlowe
[and Thomas Nashe]



a synoptic, alphabetical character list

Although the Title Page links Marlowe with Nashe, the internal evidence for Nashe's hand is slight. Perhaps Nashe did little more than prepare the play for publication and possibly for performance by The Children of Her Majesty's Chapel.


Trojan lord who lands in Carthage with Aeneas and Ascanius.


Hero of Troy, who escapes the city's downfall with his son Ascanius and a group of Trojan lords. He lands in Carthage, where the Queen, Dido, falls in love with him. Despite his destiny to found a city and dynasty in Italy, he initially accepts Dido's love and plans to remain in Carthage and build a new Troy, named for his late father, there. A message from Jove, via Hermes, persuades him to leave Carthage and Dido.


Sister of Dido, Queen of Carthage. Anna is in love with Iarbas, who hopes to wed Dido and unite their kingdoms. Following his suicide, she kills herself.


Son of Aeneas. He is lured away from Dido by his grandmother Venus, and placed in a grove to sleep while Cupid plays his part through most of the play. When Juno discovers him, Venus removes him further, to "Adonis' purple down." Hermes returns him to Aeneas at the beginning of act 5.


Trojan lord who lands in Carthage with others (Ilioneus, Sergestus) and is reunited with Aeneas in act two, scene one.


God of love and son of Venus (therefore half-brother to Aeneas), he spends most of the play disguised as Ascanius, the son of Aeneas. At Venus's instigation, he touches Dido with his arrow and makes her fall in love with Aeneas. Hermes returns him to Cyprus when he brings Ascanius back to Aeneas.


Queen of Carthage. Despite many suitors, including Iarbas, she has refrained from marriage. But Cupid's arrow makes her fall in love with Aeneas, who lands in Carthage enroute to Italy from the ruins of Troy. Her passion drives her to desperation (she cedes her crown to Aeneas, and later steals the masts and sails from the fleet she built for him when it appears he plans to leave); when he finally embarks, she vows to sacrifice all remnants of his presence and ultimately commits suicide on this pyre.


Cup-bearer and lover to Jupiter.


Messenger of Jupiter. He bids Neptune calm the seas so that Aeneas might land in Carthage. In act five, he is dispatched by Jupiter to chide Aeneas for his dalliance and to urge his immediate resumption of his journey to Italy.


King of Gaetulia and suitor to Dido. He resents her love for Aeneas, and ultimately provides the necessary materials for Aeneas to continue his journey. Kills himself when he discovers Dido's suicide.


Trojan lord who lands in Carthage with others (Cloanthus, Sergestus) and is reunited with Aeneas in act two, scene one.


Wife to Jupiter and inveterate enemy of Troy. Confronted by Venus as she plans to murder the hidden Ascanius, she appears to make her peace with Venus and pledges to support the love match between Dido and Aeneas. She anticipates that this will foil Aeneas's destiny to found a great empire.


King of the gods. He supports Venus's desire for his assistance in Aeneas's journey, and ultimately foils Juno's plans to keep Aeneas permanently in Carthage by dispatching Hermes to send him on his way.


Servant to Dido. She is given charge of Ascanius (actually Cupid, disguised) when Dido asks that he be taken from the court so that she may hold him as a hostage to prevent Aeneas's departure. The nurse's one scene is a comic one in which (clearly under Cupid's spell) she imagines herself as a potential lover to the "grown up" Ascanius/Cupid


Trojan lord who lands in Carthage with others (Ilioneus, Sergestus) and is reunited with Aeneas in act two, scene one.


Mother of Aeneas, who uses her wiles to both accommodate Juno's plans for him to fall in love with Dido and remain in Carthage, and to pursue her own support of his destiny to end his journey in Italy and found what will become the Roman empire.