James Shirley



a synoptic, alphabetical character list


This noble gentleman is at first in love with Clariana. Bellamente brags to Clariana about a close friend--Hippolito--who refuses to allow anything or anyone to divide his love for and service to Bellamente. Because of Clariana's machinations, Hippolito and Clariana not only meet but fall in love; the two are suspected by Bellamente, who instantly weds Clariana. Upon later discovering Clariana and Hippolito together, Bellamente publicly accuses neither, requiring only that Hippolito leave and that Clariana no longer expect her husband as bedfellow. He yet again discovers the two together; Clariana is urging Hippolito not to forget her and not to wed the lady Eubella. Clariana and Hippolito mortally wound one another; the miserable Bellamente dies while explaining to the newly arrived duke that Clariana and Hippolito suffer from wounds inflicted upon themselves.


Bovaldo is an old courtier and father of Hippolito. He is jealous of Sebastian's advancement. He takes Sebastian out, making sure that Sebastian becomes drunk. He then encourages Sebastian to upbraid the duke; Sebastian's too-free speech of course lands him in prison.


This unnamed brother of Eubella and son of Sebastian is said to possess few social graces and is sorely lacking in court skills.


Clariana's opening role is that of mistress to Bellamente. She is intrigued when Bellamente brags about his rare and good friend who shuns all loves but Bellamente. Seeking out this rare friend Hippolito, Clariana does not identify herself as Bellamente's beloved until after Bellamente has found her in Hippolito's house. Instantly wedding Bellamente, Clariana continues to entertain Hippolito; when Bellamente caches the two together, Hippolito is banished from the house and Clariana from Bellamente's bed. Found with Hippolito yet again as she urges Hippolito not to wed Eubella. Clariana stabs Hippolito, and he returns a mortal sword thrust.


A "ghost character." The Countess is named as a one-time mistress of Bovaldo whose ribbon he wears.


This unnamed Courtier discusses with Hippolito the social rise of Eubella and her father Sebastian.


The three Courtiers discuss the sudden rise and preferment of Eubella and Sebastian, and whether or not Sebastian will be sent away from the court.


This unnamed tapster serves Bovaldo and Sebastian as the former makes certain the latter becomes inebriated enough to offer disrespectful remarks to the duke.


The duke courts Eubella intensely, offering her jewels, advancing her father Sebastian, and engaging Hippolito to assist in wooing her. Enraged when a drunken Sebastian speaks disrespectfully to him, the duke imprisons Sebastian and is angry about the newly formed romantic relationship between Hippolito and Eubella. Relenting, however, after Hippolito dies by the hand of Clariana, the duke releases Sebastian and offers honorable marriage to Eubella.


Eubella is the daughter of Sebastian, a private gentleman who is repeatedly advanced as the duke courts Eubella. She steadfastly refuses to the duke's dishonorable advances and pledges to wed Hippolito, who has earned her love while wooing in the duke's name. Following Hippolito's death at the end of the drama, Eubella expresses joy that Hippolito loved her and receives a marriage offer from the duke.


The Fencer is an unnamed attendant who practices the sword arts with Hippolito.


The Fiddler is an unnamed musician who so diligently persists in offering tunes to Bovaldo and Sebastian in the tavern that he is finally chased away by Bovaldo.


A "ghost character." This unnamed lady is said to have provided Bovaldo with a feather from her fan.


Employed by Clariana and Bellamente, this unnamed Groom and Hippolito's Page speculate about whether or not Clariana is a "wench."


Hippolito is the son of Bovaldo who attends the duke and who prizes friendship with Bellamente. He is tricked by Bellamente's mistress Clariana, who inveigles herself into his affections before announcing her relationship with Bellamente. Commissioned by the duke to court Eubella in the duke's name, Hippolito finds himself in love with Clariana and is caught in her chamber by her now-husband Bellamente. Forbidden Bellamente's house, Hippolito wins the love of Eubella and plans to wed her. Called to Bellamente's house, Hippolito finds Clariana urging him to abandon Eubella. Clariana stabs Hippolito, and Hippolito inflicts a mortal sword wound upon Clariana. Hippolito expires claiming his constant love for Eubella, wishing her by his side at his death.


Only mentioned. Jonson is the English playwright mentioned by Hippolito in trying to win Eubella for the duke.


This unnamed entertainer seeks to amuse Bovaldo and Sebastian in the tavern.


Only mentioned. In The Mirror of Knighthood, the name of Lindabrides is synonymous with a kept mistress. In speaking with Clariana, Hippolito uses the phrase "superintendant Lindabrides" to describe a mistress he has never had.


Milena is Clariana's maid and accompanies her mistress to Hippolito's home and discovers that Hippolito has locked them in.


A "ghost character." The mother of Eubella is described by Sebastian as having been a virtuous woman.


This unnamed Page serves Hippolito. He brings a message to Hippolito announcing the visit of an unknown gentlewoman. He also discusses with Clariana's Groom the possibility that Clariana is a "wench."


As father of Eubella, Sebastian owes his sudden rise--from private gentleman through knighthood to privy counsellor--to the passion that the duke entertains for Eubella. Becoming inebriated in the company of Bovaldo, Sebastian then speaks disrespectfully to the duke and is imprisoned; his release and reprieve come only when the duke later becomes self-analytical and repentant.


This unnamed Servant serves Bellamente and reports seeing Clariana and Hippolito together in Clariana's chamber.


A "ghost character." The Young Lady has provided a token for Bovaldo to wear.