circa 1520–circa 1557

a synoptic, alphabetical character list


Enters after St. Johan's sermon and asks who woke him so early by dousing him with a bowl of water. He tells the audience that he enjoys running away with other men's wives and lying. Eugenio enters to him and they discuss Irisidision's earlier advice to Eugenio. Actio thinks Eugenio is foolish for wanting to give away his wealth and vows never to do the same himself; he advises Eugenio to give up thoughts of charity and remember instead that sport and play bring the most joy. Later, Actio meets up with Eugenio and they stay to listen to St. Johan's parable. After St. Johan's speech, Actio and Eugenio both vow to repent and follow St. Johan's doctrine.


Enters after Irisdision's speech on holy meditation and criticizes his "pope holiness." When Irisdision tells him he will not be saved, he asks Irisdision to show him the way to reach Holy Zion or salvation. Eugenio agrees to forsake the path to hell, but wants to talk of mirth instead. After Irisdision exits, Eugenio dismisses his advice, renaming him Witless Sir Will because "his brayne is stedfast as a wyndemill." Eugenio suggests a better way to protect himself is with a wench in his arms, especially if she is another man's wife, since cuckold-makers have merrier lives than husbands. Eugenio ends his address by observing that married women will be unfaithful despite the danger of damnation, and that young people should remember that lechery is a deadly sin. Re-enters after St. Johan's sermon and discusses Iridision's advice with Actio. Eugenio claims he was almost persuaded to give up his wealth, but agrees with Actio that pleasure in this world is more important. He also expresses a desire to hear St. Johan's next sermon. Later, meets up with Actio and stays to listen to St. Johan's parable. After St. Johan's speech, Actio and Eugenio both vow to repent and follow St. Johan's doctrine.


Enters after Actio's first exchange with Eugenio and tells the audience that he seeks a new master to advise. He has traveled throughout England and advised many young men and women "Of maters partaynyng to Venus actes," leading them to live in adultery. When Idleness enters, Evil Counsel offers to serve him by finding him another man's wife for his bed. They agree that Evil Counsel will find Idleness an artificer's wife, and that Evil Counsel will use his brother Temptation along with Youth to help win her over. Asks after Idleness' brother Sensuality and soon their discussion develops into an argument. Suggests that they go to Unthrift's to avoid listening to St. Johan's next sermon.


Enters to Evil Counsel and accepts his offer to find him someone else's wife for his bed, even though he already has over 25 wives (but other men keep them for him). Asks Evil Counsel to find him a pretty artificer's wife. After discussing his brother Sensuality with Evil Counsel, they begin to argue, but decide to go to Unthrift's instead, in order to avoid listening to St. Johan's next sermon.


Begins the interlude praising holy meditation; after Eugenio enters and criticizes his "pope holiness," Irisdision tells him he will not be saved. He presents to Eugenio an allegory of life as spiritual journey to Holy Zion for the elect, and an oblique, circular path to death for those who do the devil's will. Although Eugenio vows to forsake the path to damnation and invites Irisdision to talk of mirth, Irisdision exits, saying he must go another way.


Enters after initial exchange between Irisdision and Eugenio and delivers a sermon-like speech, referring to the audience as "this congregacyon." Blesses the congregation and introduces himself, then offers to teach about Christ's passion. His role, he states, is to preach Christ's laws and to offer heaven to all who follow those laws, even though most now pursue worldly wealth. Returns at the end of the interlude to tell a parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, in which the Publican's meek piety is contrasted with the Pharisee's hypocrisy and pride. He ends by reminding the audience that pride is a sin and all those who do not repent of their sins will go to hell. St. Johan then ends the interlude by telling the audience that those who think they are good share the Pharisee's pride, while those who see themselves as sinful share the Publican's divine blessing, and encouraging them to be steadfast and true.


A "ghost character." Mentioned as Idleness' brother.


Name Eugenio uses to introduce St. Johan.


A "ghost character." Mentioned as Evil Counsel's brother.


A "ghost character." Mutual acquaintance of Evil Counsel and Idleness.


Name given to Irisdision by Eugenio.


A "ghost character." Mentioned as friend of Evil Counsel.

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