KING EDWARD III
a synoptic, alphabetical character list
Artois is a French nobleman, banished for supporting Edward's claim to the French throne. Edward creates him Earl of Richmond, and he travels with Edward to invade France. He helps with the knighting of Prince Edward, presenting his shield. During the battle of Crécy, he reports to Edward that the Prince needs help and later fights with the Prince at the battle of Poitiers where he captures Prince Philip.
Audely is an English noble. He musters men for the war against France and helps with the knighting of Prince Edward, presenting his lance. He asks Edward if he may take soldiers to aid the Prince during the battle of Crécy, a request Edward refuses. He fights with the Prince at Poitiers and councils him not to fear death since death is common to all. He is badly wounded at Poitiers and prepares for death, but the Prince refuses to let him die.
The Captain is a French soldier who delivers Salisbury and forty other English soldiers to King John during the battle of Poitiers. This is apparently a different captain than the Captain who attempts to negotiate the surrender of Calais.
CAPTAIN OF CALAIS
The Captain is a French solider who tries to negotiate a safe surrender of Calais with Edward. He is apparently a different captain than the one who delivers Salisbury and forty soldiers to King John during the battle of Poitiers.
Charles is Duke of Normandy and the eldest son of King John. Villiers, taken captive by Salisbury, is sent to Charles to obtain Salisbury's safe conduct in return for Villiers' freedom. Charles attempts to talk Villiers into remaining with him and simply not returning to Salisbury and captivity. However, when Villiers honorably states that he must return, Charles redeems Villiers by granting the safe conduct for Salisbury. Charles reads King John a prophecy that claims England will not win France until the birds and stones fight for the English, and that John will advance into England as far as Edward advances into France. At the battle of Poitiers, he argues with his father, who wants to kill the captured Salisbury, despite the safe-conduct, and he successfully persuades his father to honor the safe-conduct. At the end of the battle of Poitiers, Prince Edward captures him although he is not one of the prisoners presented to Edward III in the last scene.
CHARLES OF BLOIS
A "ghost character." Salisbury helps fight and kill Charles of Blois, Mountford's enemy who has stolen Brittany. Mountford, Duke of Brittany, swears allegiance to Edward for this service.
COUNTESS OF SALISBURY
The Countess is the daughter of Warwick and wife of the Earl of Salisbury. She is besieged by the Scots in the Castle of Roxsbourgh, and is relieved by the arrival of an English army headed by Edward III. She persuades Edward to stay at the castle so that she may thank him, despite his protests, and then discovers that Edward has fallen in love with her. At first, she thinks he is testing her honor. When he persists, she tells him to kill both his wife and her husband so they are free of any impediments. When he agrees, she threatens to kill herself to remain pure, and this finally convinces Edward of the immorality of his desires.
DAVID, SCOTS KING
David is the King of Scotland. He besieges the Countess of Salisbury at the Castle of Roxbourgh. There the Countess overhears him arguing with Douglas about the division of the spoils, specifically the Countess and her jewels. He flees immediately upon receiving news of the approaching English army. Later, he is captured by John Copland and is brought to France to be surrendered to Edward III.
Derby is an English Earl and an older man. He is sent by Edward III to solicit aid from the Emperor of Almagne in the war against France, and he is successful. He helps with the knighting of Prince Edward, presenting his helmet. He tells Edward to go to the aid of the Prince during the battle of Crécy, a request that Edward refuses.
Douglas is a Scottish lord. He asks King David for the Countess as his part of the spoils when they conquer her castle at Roxbourgh. When David declares the Countess is his, Douglas is willing to settle for her jewels, but David insists that they go with the Countess. Douglas flees with David immediately upon hearing of the approach of the English army.
One of the citizens fleeing the invading English army. He argues that to wait and see if Crécy is attacked is like the grasshopper that is surprised by winter.
The First Frenchman meets the fleeing citizens and upbraids them for their fear of invasion, claiming that there is nothing to fear.
Before the battle of Poitiers, the First Herald delivers a demand to Prince Edward from King John that the Prince and one hundred nobles should kneel at his feet to save themselves from death.
Edward is the King of England. He plans an invasion of France because through his mother, Isabella, he is more directly in line for the French throne than is the current king, John. He wants to leave for France immediately after confirming his right with Artois, but Warwick arrives with news of a Scottish attack on the Castle of Roxbourgh. He easily chases away King David and the Scots, and then falls instantly in love with the Countess of Salisbury, who was besieged in the castle. He attempts to win the Countess, even promising to kill his wife and her husband. When she threatens to kill herself, he realizes the immorality of his desires and returns to his plan to invade France. He lands in France after a sea battle, refuses John's offer of money and jewels, and knights his son, Prince Edward, before the battle at Crécy. At Crécy, he three times refuses to help his son when Prince Edward is in danger, preferring to let his son win fame and honor. At the siege of Calais, he allows six poor Frenchmen who have been expelled to pass safely through the English lines, and gives them food and drink. However, he insists that six wealthy citizens come before him, wearing halters and naked except for their shirts, to beg for mercy for Calais. When they appear, he at first plans to execute them, but when Phillipa begs for their lives he relents. When John Copland brings King David of Scotland to him as a prisoner rather than turn him over to the Queen in England, Edward is impressed and knights Copland. Edward returns to England after gaining Calais, with Kings John and David along with Princes Charles and Philip as prisoners.
GOVIN DE GRACE
Govin de Grace is a French prisoner who reveals to Edward III a shallow pass through the River Somme. Edward rewards him with his freedom and five hundred marks in gold.
The esquires are English soldiers who rescue a wounded Audley at Poitiers.
The English Herald arrives, just after Salisbury has delivered his mistaken message that the French have won at Poitiers, to announce to Edward the ultimate victory of Prince Edward and the arrival of the Prince with King John and Prince Philip as captives.
JOHN, FRENCH KING
John is the king of France. John demands that Edward III do homage to him for the Guienne dukedom. When Edward invades, John is at first convinced that the French navy will prevent the English army from ever landing, and he is devastated when told that his navy has been routed. After losses of several cities, he arrives outside of Crécy to offer Edward cash and jewels to withdraw, appearing to believe that the English are only after treasure. After losing Crécy, he attacks Prince Edward at Poitiers with a vastly superior army. At first the battle goes his way, and the Earl of Salisbury is captured with forty other English knights. John wants to hang Salisbury, but is persuaded otherwise by Prince Charles, who has provided the Earl with a safe-conduct. John and Prince Philip are eventually captured by Prince Edward and brought to Edward. Edward declares that he will take John back to England to await ransom, thus fulfilling the third part of a prophecy given to Prince Charles, that John would advance as far into England as his foe does into France.
John Copland is an English soldier who captures the Scots king David in a battle. He refuses to turn over his prisoner to Edward's regent, Queen Phillipa, thereby insulting her. She travels with him and David to France, and John turns David over to Edward directly. Edward rewards him for his loyalty by knighting him.
KING OF BOHEMIA
The King of Bohemia is an ally of France in the war against England. Prince Edward kills him (offstage) at the battle of Crécy.
Lodowick is King Edward's secretary. After the rescue of the Countess of Salisbury, he recognizes that Edward has fallen in love with her and fears this will disrupt the plans for war. Edward enlists his aid to write love poetry (although without openly stating who the poem is for), but Lodowick upsets Edward with his continual focus on chastity. Later, Lodowick delivers a message to Edward from the Countess that she wishes to see him, causing Edward instantly to abandon his plans to invade France.
Lorraine is a French Duke sent by King John to demand that Edward do homage him for the Guienne dukedom. Lorraine meets with King David of Scotland and receives promises that the Scots will never make peace with the English and thereby keep Edward from attempting to invade France. After Crécy, Lorraine flees with John, blaming the Genoese garrison that was too tired to fight.
The Mariner is a French subject who brings word of the approaching English navy and of the French navy going out to meet them. He returns to tell King John that the English navy is victorious and that the English have landed on French soil.
Sir William Montague is an English nobleman, nephew to the Countess. He arrives immediately after the exit of the Duke of Lorraine and brings word of renewed attacks by the Scottish King. He describes the siege of Roxbourgh and asks Edward to help rescue the Countess of Salisbury.
Duke of Brittany. After Salisbury helps fight and kill Charles of Blois, Mountford's enemy who has stolen Brittany, Mountford swears allegiance to Edward.
Percy is an English nobleman. He brings news that Queen Phillipa is coming to France because King David of Scotland has been captured by John Copland, but that Copland will not turn his prisoner over to her, insisting that he present David to Edward himself.
The Polonian Captain is the leader of a combined Russian/Polish force that promises to fight with the French.
Philip is the youngest son of King John of France. He listens, with John, to the news that the sea battle between the French and English has been won by the English and then retreats with his father. He mockingly sends a devotional book to Edward before Poitiers. He enters before the battle of Poitiers to report that a huge flock of ravens has frightened the men, thereby fulfilling the first part of the prophecy, that feathered fowl will make the army tremble. With Charles, he tells his father that the smaller English army is winning the battle and declares that they should die from the shame. Artois captures him, and he is brought before Edward, who declares that he and his father will be prisoners in England.
Phillipa is the Queen of England and wife of Edward III. She is left as regent when Edward goes to France. She travels to France, heavily pregnant, after John Copland captures King David of Scotland and will not turn him over to her, insisting that he will only present his prisoner to the king himself. When Edward threatens the Six Citizens of Crécy with death, she begs for mercy and they are released. She mourns the apparent death of Prince Edward after Salisbury declares that the French have won at Poitiers, and she is afterward overjoyed to find out that he is alive and victorious.
Prince Edward is the Prince of Wales, eldest son of Edward III. He is first presented as a young man eager for battle but completely untested. His arrival at Roxbourgh and his resemblance to his mother almost sways King Edward from his lustful desire for the Countess of Salisbury, but in the end the prince's presence is not enough. When the English invade France, his father knights Prince Edward before the battle of Crécy, although it seems that he has already fought several successful battles with Audley. At Crécy, he appears to be overwhelmed by the French, causing Artois, Audley and Derby all to request that Edward give him aid. Edward refuses however, preferring that the Prince "win his spurs" or die gloriously. Prince Edward is successful and kills the King of Bohemia. At Poitiers, he fights the French king John and his two sons with a much smaller army. When the archers run out of arrows, the Prince tells them to throw stones, thus fulfilling the second prophecy, which stated that France would be lost when flint stones rise and fight. Prince Edward is eventually successful, and captures John and Charles, although between the end of the battle and the Prince's arrival at his father's camp, Charles disappears from the play. In history, he came to be known as Edward, the Black Prince.
The Earl of Salisbury is the husband of the Countess of Salisbury. He helps Mountford, the Duke of Brittany, to regain his lands from Charles of Blois, and in return the Duke swears allegiance to Edward. Salisbury obtains a safe-conduct from Charles as the ransom for his prisoner Villiers. He is captured at Poitiers and is threatened by King John with death, but his safe-conduct holds. Instead, John sends him to tell Edward the outcome of the battle of Poitiers. Salisbury leaves before the battle is over and arrives outside of Calais to deliver to Edward and the others the mistaken report that the French have won and Prince Edward has been killed. However, his wrong report is almost immediately corrected by the arrival of the English Herald with the news of Prince Edward's victory.
A Scottish soldier who arrives outside of Roxbourgh to tell King David and Douglas that the English army is within a four-hour march.
The Second Citizen is fleeing Crécy with several companions. He fears the worst and will not be convinced that King John can protect them.
A mute character who arrives with the First Frenchman and meets the fleeing Citizens of Crécy.
Before the battle of Poitiers, the Second Herald delivers a horse to Prince Edward from Prince Charles as well as a taunt that he should use the horse to flee the battle.
A Scottish messenger who arrives outside of Roxbourgh to inform King David and Douglas that they have been overtaken by the English army and must fight or flee immediately.
SIX FRENCH CITIZENS
During the siege of Crécy, Edward demands that six rich citizens come before him, naked except for their shirts and with halters around their necks, to beg for mercy for their city. When Calais surrenders, the six citizens appear in the required garb and beg for mercy. Edward grants the city mercy, but plans to have the six citizens killed as an example. However, Queen Phillipa successfully pleads for their lives.
The Third Frenchman enters to tell the citizens fleeing from Crécy and the other two Frenchmen that the English invasion has reached Crécy and they must all flee or be conquered.
Before the battle of Poitiers, the Third Herald delivers a devotional book to Prince Edward from Prince Philip as well as a taunt that he should prepare for his death.
The Two Children are mute characters who accompany the Woman and the Citizens who are fleeing from Crécy.
Villiers is a Norman Lord and a prisoner of Salisbury. He is offered his freedom, without ransom, if he will go to Prince Charles and procure a safe-conduct pass for Salisbury. When he first asks Charles, Charles refuses and suggests that Villiers simply not return to his captivity. However, Villiers rejects this, stating that he is honor bound to deliver the passport as ransom or remain a prisoner. Charles is impressed with Villiers' sense of honor and redeems him by giving him the safe-conduct for Salisbury.
The Earl of Warwick is an English nobleman and the father of the Countess of Salisbury. He accompanies the king on his mission to rescue the Countess from the Scots. When Warwick sees that Edward is distressed, he swears to do anything that Edward might want if it will help him to feel better. When Edward reveals that he wants Warwick to convince the Countess to give into him, Warwick is upset, but does what he has sworn. He presents the best case he can to his daughter, but is very pleased when she violently rejects the idea of yielding. When the King eventually returns to the French invasion, he makes Warwick Warden of the North.
The Woman is a French citizen, fleeing with other citizens from the siege of Crécy. She cites a friar's prophecy that a Western lion would carry away the fleur-de-lis.