HANNIBAL AND SCIPIO
a synoptic, alphabetical character list
Printed in 1637 by Richard Oulton for Charles Greene, with Nabbes' name on the title page. The title page also says that the play was "Acted in the yeare 1635, by the Queenes Majesties Servants, at their Private house in Drury Lane." Following the title page are three poems, "To the ghosts of HANNIBAL and SCIPIO" (signed by Nabbes), "The Ghosts of Hanniball and Scipio to the Authour," and an unsigned prologue. Following the prologue is a list of "The speaking persons", listing the characters of the play and the actors who played most of them.
A Carthaginian who arrives near the end of act one with word that Hannibal has been ordered to return to Carthage. Played by Robert Axen in the original production.
A Carthaginian senator who, at the outset of act four, discusses with his fellow senators their plan to betray Hannibal to the Romans. Bostar is especially worried about preserving his wealth in the face of Hannibal's defeat, and is physically afraid of Hannibal when he arrives before the senators. Played in the original production by George Stutfield, who doubled as the Soldier in act one.
Counsellor to Syphax, king of Numidia. At the outset of act two, he and Piston try to convince Syphax to ally with Carthage, as Numidia has traditionally done, but Syphax decides to ally with Rome instead. Later Crates and Piston conspire with Hannibal to change Syphax's mind by offering him the hand of Sophonisba, though Crates actually plays little active part in the plan.
There are two characters with this name in the play:
- A Roman whose son, also named Flaminius, was slain by Hannibal. He appears in act five alongside Scipio and Massanissa, but speaks no lines; his only purpose is to inflame Hannibal's passions by his presence.
- A "ghost character." The son of Flaminius who was slain by Hannibal.
A Carthaginian senator. Along with his fellow senators Hanno and Bostar, he schemes at the beginning of act four to turn Hannibal over to the victorious Scipio. However, Gisgon plays very little part in the ensuing discussion, his main function being to react to Bostar. Played by Robert Axen in the original production.
Carthaginian general and one of the play's two main characters. He represents the destructiveness of unchecked passions, in contrast to the dignity and restraint represented by Scipio. Hannibal first appears in Capua, rebuking his men for their hedonistic excesses after capturing the city. However, he is almost immediately enchanted by a passing lady, and only stops his wooing when word comes that he has been recalled to Carthage. In Numidia, he is initially upset when Syphax decides to ally with Rome, but conspires with Piston and Crates to change Syphax's mind by promising him the hand of Sophonisba. After Hannibal is defeated by Scipio at the battle of Zama, he returns to Carthage and is insulted by Hanno and the rest of the senate, whereupon he loses his temper and flees just before Scipio arrives. Having arrived at the court of Prusias, king of Bythinia, he becomes alarmed when Scipio and his entourage arrive. When Himulco reports that the court is surrounded by armed soldiers, Hannibal becomes convinced that Prusias has betrayed him, and commits suicide by taking poison. Played by William Allen in the original production.
A Carthaginian senator who, at the outset of act four, describes to his fellow senators their plan to betray Hannibal to the Romans as part of the peace settlement. When Hannibal arrives shortly thereafter, Hanno insults him in a heated exchange and is physically attacked by him. After Hannibal has fled from the approaching Scipio, Hanno falsely tells Scipio that they have banished Hannibal, a plan which backfires when Scipio rebukes them for their ingratitude. Played by Richard Perkins in the original production.
A Carthaginian captain under Hannibal. At the play's outset, he and Maharball are praising the hedonistic pleasures of Capua, which Hannibal's army has just conquered, but then Hannibal comes in and rebukes them for being soft. Later, in act four, Himulco rushes in while Hannibal is arguing with the senate to tell them that Scipio is entering the gates of Carthage, whereupon he flees with Hannibal to Bythinia. There, in the court of Prusias, he investigates and reports back to Hannibal that armed soldiers have surrounded the court, whereupon Hannibal takes poison because he is convinced that Prusius has betrayed him. Played by John Sumner in the original production.
Two ladies in Capua who tempt Hannibal in the play's first act. After initially fighting his impulses, Hannibal aggressively woos the second lady, but she rebukes him for being soft when he should be acting like a soldier. The first lady, meanwhile, teases Maharball and Himulco. The two ladies represent the passions which are eventually Hannibal's undoing later in the play.
A lady wooing a soldier in the play's first act, observed by Maharball and Himulco. The soldier resists her entreaties at first, but eventually agrees to go with her as long as she will let him be with other women. The soldier's seduction presages the later temptation of Hannibal and downfall of Massanissa. This lady is not to be confused with the Young Lady of the fourth act, a Spanish noblewoman betrothed to Lucius.
A soldier under Scipio, whose main function is to deliver news of offstage doings. In act three, he brings Scipio the news that Massanissa has conquered Numida and captured Syphax, and at the end of the same act he brings news that Hannibal is preparing for battle near Zama. At the end of act four, he introduces the Young Lady and tells Scipio that Hannibal has fled. Played by John Page in the original production.
A Celtic prince from Spain, betrothed to the Young Lady, who arrives in Carthage at the end of act four along with Scipio's conquering army. He asks Scipio to release the Young Lady to him, which Scipio magnanimously does as an example to Massanissa.
A Carthaginian captain under Hannibal. At the play's outset, he and Himulco are praising the hedonistic pleasures of Capua, which Hannibal's army has just conquered, but then Hannibal comes in and rebukes them for being soft. Played in the original production by William Sherlock, who doubled as Prusius.
Numidian prince, former lover of Sophonisba, who betrays Carthage and allies himself with Rome. He captures Syphax, Sophonisba's new husband, and marries her despite the fact that Syphax is still alive. But he is scolded by Scipio for being ruled by his passions and refusing to turn over Sophonisba, whereupon he gives his new bride poison and she dies. Later, in act four, he observes Scipio's example in giving the Young Lady back to Lucius, and finally realizes that "Passion's the noble soul's worst enemy." Played by Theophilus Bird in the original production.
A messenger who arrives in act two to tell Syphax and his counsellors that Scipio has arrived, and later arrives to tell them and Hannibal that Sophonisba has arrived.
A Carthaginian who serves mainly as a bearer of bad news. He brings word in act one that Scipio has recaptured Spain, leading Hannibal to vow that he will defeat Scipio and capture Rome. At the beginning of act four, he describes to the Carthaginian senate Hannibal's defeat at the hand of the Romans. Played in the original production by Hugh Clark, who also doubled as Syphax.
Counselor to Syphax, king of Numidia. At the outset of act two, he and Crates are trying to convince Syphax to ally with Carthage, as Numidia has traditionally done, but Syphax decides instead to ally with Rome and Scipio. A little later, after Hannibal has arrived, Piston conspires with Hannibal to change Syphax's mind by promising him the hand of Sophonisba. Played by Anthony Turner in the original production.
The king of Bythinia, to whose court Hannibal flees in act five. Prusias welcomes Hannibal, but says he does not want to get involved in a war against Rome unless Bythinia is attacked. When Scipio and his party arrive, Prusias tries to calm Hannibal's suspicions, but is unsuccessful. After Hannibal has committed suicide, Prusias says he will erect a statue to the Carthaginian general to prevent suspicion of having betrayed him. Played in the original production by William Sherlock, who doubled as Maharball in act one.
Roman general, enemy and opposite of the Carthaginian general Hannibal. Scipio represents continence and restraint, in direct opposition to the hedonism and passion represented by Hannibal and his men. He initially makes an alliance with Syphax, who betrays him over the love of a woman, Sophonisba. Then Massanissa defeats Syphax and marries Sophonisba, but Scipio upbraids him for being driven by sensual desires, and disowns him when Massanissa refuses to give up Sophonisba to the Roman authorities. In act four, Scipio arrives in Carthage after Hannibal has fled, and demonstrates his magnanimity as a conqueror by giving the Young Lady back to her Spanish lover, Lucius. Later he follows Hannibal to the court of Prusias in Bythinia, where his noble and restrained bearing contrasts with the uncontrolled passions which lead Hannibal to commit suicide. Over the dead body of Hannibal, Scipio rebukes Carthage for its ingratitude to their general and announces that he will retire to his country villa at Linturnum. Played by Michael Bowyer in the original production.
A soldier who is wooed by a lady in the play's first act, as Maharball and Himulco watch. He resists the lady's charms at first, but eventually agrees to go with her as long as she will let him be with other women. The soldier's seduction presages Hannibal's eventual seduction and downfall. Played in the original production by George Stutfield, who doubled as Bostar.
A Carthaginian noblewoman, originally betrothed to Massanissa, but given by Hannibal to Syphax to secure Numidia's alliance with Carthage. Massanissa captures and marries her after defeating Syphax in alliance with the Romans, but she drinks poison given to her by Massanissa rather than be turned over to Scipio and the Romans. As she is dying, she blames her own "adulterous easiness" for her death, emphasizing the play's theme of hedonism and incontinence leading to ruin. Played by Ezekiel Fenn in the original production.
The young and fickle King of Numidia. Though Numidia has traditionally been allied with Carthage, Syphax initially decides to side with Rome and Scipio, against the advice of his counsellors. However, he switches and allies with Carthage after all when Hannibal secures him the hand of Sophonisba. In the course of the war, Syphax is captured by Sophonisba's former betrothed Massanissa, and is led off to be put to death after a final pointed exchange in which he predicts Massanissa's downfall. Played by Hugh Clark in the original production.
A Celtic noblewoman from Spain, betrothed to Lucius, who arrives in Carthage at the end of act four as a prisoner of Scipio. Lucius asks Scipio to release her to him, which Scipio does as an example to Massanissa.
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