THE MAID'S METAMORPHOSIS
a synoptic, alphabetical character list
A "ghost character." Hiacinth's father. Apollo makes reference to him when he is telling the Charites the reason why he is grieving.
Also known as Phoebus. Greek god of sunlight, arts and sciences (Phoebus, his other name, refers to the Roman version of this god. He was Iove's son.) When he appears in the play for the first time he is grieving, but unwilling to reveal the reason for his suffering, he blames the weather for his gloomy appearance. However, the Charites' insistence on his telling them the cause of his suffering, he tells them he is grieving for Hiacinth, a boy he intended to make his page, had died accidentally when trying to imitate him in a game. Once he is alone, however, he confesses to the audience that the real reason for his agony is his love for the beautiful Eurymine. He later meets her in the forest, opens his heart to her and begs her to stay. But the girl asks him for the favor of being turned into a man. At first he refuses, since he will not be able to have her if she becomes a man, but he ends up granting her wish, though also imposing a penance: she will love a man desperately, and she will wish to be a girl again. Later, when the Muses implore him to have mercy on Eurymine, he at first refuses. But when he hears the Muses say they will spread his fame if he hears their prayers, he tells them he will show his clemency and returns Eurymine to her former shape. At the end, Apollo reveals that Aramanthus is Eurymine's father, and that the girl's real name is Atlanta. He rewards the old man for his suffering by placing him amongst the nine muses until he dies, and then he will exchange his mortal state and live with the rest of the immortal gods. Apollo's sole condition for his beloved Atlanta is that she will wear a branch of laurel in her netted cap for her to remember him, even in his absence. Apollo will also reward Gemulo and Silvio (also unrequited lovers of Eurymine) by playing his harp and letting the muses dance for them.
Aramanthus is a holy man who lives in the woods. Morpheus, in the shape of Eurymine, reveals to Ascanio that this hermit will inform him about his beloved one and will bring them both together. Later when Ioculo, Frisco and Mopso go to visit the old man in the hope that he should help them to find their respective masters' mistresses, Aramanthus, in a riddle, reveals that they are all looking for the same woman. When, in their astonishment, the boys pose him more specific questions, he explains, in parables, that Eurymine has turned into a man. He also tells Ioculo that his master will be the one who will get the lady in the end, and he indicates him how to find Ascanio. Aramanthus meets Ascanio, and he tells him about his own life: He was a most loved prince at Lesbos Isle, but one day he was betrayed by his own brother, and exiled. He listens to Ascanio's story, and reveals to him that his beloved Eurymine is a boy now. He advises the lovers to ask Apollo to restore her to her former shape, and, when she replies that the god will be reluctant to do it, he advises them to go and see the Graces, and ask them to intercede with Apollo for her. Once the girl is restored to her former shape, Ascanio asks Aramanthus how he can reward him, but the honest man explains that their happiness is sufficient recompense. At the end, he is rewarded by Apollo, since the old man learns that Eurymine is his own lost daughter, Atlanta, and that he is going to be awarded with the laurel and sent to live among the Nine Muses until his death, after which he will enjoy fame among the gods.
Ascanio is the Duke's son. He is in love with Eurymine, a most fair lady of obscure origin. But his father, Telemachus, in his attempt to marry his son to a lady of rank, will try to get rid of her. In his first appearance Ascanio is desperately seeking her, and he interrogates his page, Ioculo, to see if he can get some information from him. When the boy, moved by his master's suffering, replies that he will go to the woods to look for her, Ascanio fears for him in case he should get lost. However, Ioculo insistence, and while Ascanio is waiting, he sees a vision offered by Morpheus, in which the god reveals how to find the lady. When the vision fades, Ascanio resolves to look for her until he finds her. But time goes by, and he begins to despair. Then he is encouraged to go on by a voice, though he soon realizes it is his own echo. When Ascanio sees Aramanthus, he recognizes him as the hermit he had seen in his vision, and who was supposed to tell him how to find Eurymine. After listening to Aramanthus's story, Ascanio proceeds to tell him his own, explaining that three days have elapsed since he last saw his beloved one. Aramanthus reveals him her new identity, but the boy can't believe it. Then Eurymine, in the shape of a man, enters singing, and Ascanio recognizes her, but, ashamed of her new shape, she leaves hurriedly, and he runs after her. He finally finds her, and declares his love for her, but she doesn't seem respond. Ascanio does not understand that her new nature prevents her from loving him as a woman, and accuses her of being inconstant. After further conversation he finally understands that he lost a wife, but has won a friend. Then, following Aramanthus's advice, he goes to see Apollo/Phoebus, and implores the God to have mercy on him. Once his wish has come true, he also asks Aramanthus how he can recompense him for his help, but the old man is content with the couple's happiness. At the end, he learns that his beloved one is of noble origin, being Aramanthus's daughter, and that her real name is Atlanta.
The real name of Eurymine, revealed at the end of the play by Apollo.
CHARITE, FIRST, SECOND and THIRD
Hesiod explains that there are three Charites or Graces (Aglaia, Euphrosyne and Thalia) who personify beauty and charm. In this play they only appear under their generic name. The First Charite urges Apollo to tell her the reason for his grieving, and the Second Charite offers evidence for his grief when he denies it. When they hear his story, they try to cheer him up. But he explains to them that there is nothing they can do to appease his pain, and they leave.
Cricket is a fairy who plays with the drops of dew in the following fashion: when a drop of dew falls down, and lands upon her crown, she shakes her head, skips, and trips about. She appears singing and dancing in the forest, with Penny and Little Pricke, before Mopso, Frisco and Ioculo. She also offers them music and invites them to dance. The boys are reluctant at the beginning, but, when she threatens that they will punch them black and blue before they leave, Mopso, Frisco and Ioculo end up singing and dancing with the three fairies.
A "ghost character." Juno mentions him when she gives Iris instructions to go and call Morpheus. The 'purblind lad' is Venus's son. According to Juno, he, obeying his mother, is somehow responsible for provoking the love misfortune of Ascanio and Eurymine. The insulting appellative 'purblind lad' is accurate, since, according to mythology, Cupid was the god of love, the son of Venus and Vulcan, normally represented as a little blind boy with wings.
It repeats the last words that Ascanio and Ioculo utter in Act IV, thus revealing Ascanio that his Eurymine still lives nearby, disguised.
A "ghost character." She is one of the nine muses of Greek mythology. The muses love singing and dancing, and they do both beautifully. She is mentioned by the First Charite, who encourages Apollo to listen to a song by Eurania, in the hope that it would provide some relief to his pain. But Apollo declines the invitation.
Eurymine is a beautiful lady of obscure origin, who wins the heart of Ascanio, the Duke's son. However, she also wins the Duke's hatred, since she is interfering with his plan to marry his son to a worthy lady of noble origin. The duke has planned to kill her, and sends two of his servants: Phylander and Orestes, who wish they had not been given such a task. When Eurymine realizes her fate, she asks them to put a scarf over her eyes, so as not to see the fatal stroke. Then she sings a moving farewell song to Ascanio, her beloved one. However, Phylander and Orestes have decided not to kill her, and she effusively expresses her gratitude to them, promising to stay in the woods and never return to her country. And she gives them her veil, as they request, to show as proof of her death. When they leave, she meets Silvio, a ranger, and Gemulo, a shepherd, who urge her to tell them about the reason for her distress. She makes up a tale, explaining that her parents wanted to marry her to a boy she didn't love. Her beauty entices both men, and she arouses a controversy between them, to which she tries to offer a quick solution by accepting Silvio's cottage and Gemulo's flock to take care of. Later, when she is in the forest she meets Apollo. He reveals his love for her, and, when she asks who he is, he tells her, but she does not believe him, explaining that a god would not make love to a mortal, simply because he would lose his divinity. When he persists, unwilling to be raped by a god, she quickly thinks of a solution, and asks him for a favor. She wishes to be turned into the shape of a man. Apollo reluctantly grants her wish, and, thus, she escapes the passionate love and lust of the god. However, later, Eurymine sees Ascanio, she flees from him, because she does not want him to see her in the shape of a man. Then she travels with Silvio and Gemulo to visit Aramanthus, the Hermit. When she meets Ascanio again, he expresses his love for her, which has not changed; but she explains that she cannot love him, but as a friend, given her new state as a man. She tries to console him remarking that he has lost a wife, but won a friend. After Amaranthus's arrival, she explains how she took up the shape of a man to escape Phoebus's rape. That is the reason why, when the old man advises her to pray to Apollo to restore her to her former shape, she assumes he will be reluctant to do it. Thus, she is surprised when Apollo agrees to turn her back into her woman's shape. At the end, she learns that she is Aramanthus's daughter, Atlanta, a lady of noble origin, and she agrees to Phoebus's final wish: she will wear the branch of a laurel in her netted cap to think about him even in his absence.
A "ghost character." Mentioned by Sylvio, when he first meets Eurymine. He asks her if she has seen a Forrester who has lost a deer in the forest. Later, Eurymine, looking for the said Forrester, will ask Apollo if he has seen him when she meets the god in the woods.
Frisco is Silvio's son. He is a merry boy, who soon becomes friendly with Mopso and Ioculo. His mission is to find his father's beloved shepherdess, Eurymine. When he is with his friends (who also have to find their masters' respective ladies), in the course of their quest, they meet some fairies, who convince the boys to sing and dance with them. Then he has a bright idea that may solve their problems: they will visit a wise man, Aramanthus, who lives in the forest. When he is in the presence of the old man, he asks him if his father will win the love of the fair shepherdess, and he learns, to his dismay, that his father will not get the girl. Therefore, he leaves the place to break the sad news to Silvio.
A "ghost character." According to Roman mythology, Ganymede was the youngest son of Tros, carried off by Jove to Mount Olympus to serve as the gods' cup bearer. The problem was that this position was already filled by Hebe, the daughter of Zeus and Hera. Thus, the moment Ganymede arrived at the royal court there began a furious competition between Hebe and Ganymede for the honor of serving the gods. Eventually the boy won the post, and stayed on also as the beloved companion to Zeus. Ganimede is mentioned by Apollo in order to compare the affection Jove felt for him with Apollo's affection for Hiacinth.
Gemulo is a shepherd who, on his first appearance, is looking for his son, Mopso. The boy had escaped, fearing his father would beat him for a fault he had committed. Later, when he notices the presence of fair Eurymine, he urges her to reveal the cause of her distress. After hearing her reply, he sympathizes and falls in love with her, and he even offers his own house to her. But Silvio, the ranger, had offered his to the lady before, and both men engage in a discussion, to decide which of them can offer the worthiest lodgings to Eurymine. But the girl decides she will accept the ranger's house, and Gemulo's flock, to take care of it. When she appears before them in the shape of a man, explaining that she is her own brother, Gemulo distrusts him. He thinks the boy is too handsome, and could be a rival rather than her brother. Therefore he goes with Silvio, the ranger, to see if she has really gone away. But once they have checked she is not there any longer, still mistrusting, the two men take Eurymine, to see Aramanthus, the wise old man, in the hope that he should find out the truth. In the end, Gemulo does not get the lady, but, in compensation, Apollo plays his harp and the Muses dance for him.
The Graces are the Charites. John Lyly mixes up the Charites and the Muses, because when Ascanio and Eurymine are advised by Aramanthus to go and see the Graces for them to intercede with Apollo, he calls them Muses, instead of Charities as he had previously done.
A "ghost character." According to Greek mythology, he was a beautiful youth loved dearly by Apollo. The boy was killed accidentally by a discus thrown by the god. Hiacinth is mentioned by Apollo when he is explaining the reason for his gloom to the Charites.
A "ghost character." According to Greek mythology, the one thousand Oneiroi (personifications of dreams) were the sons of Hypnos (Somnus), and they were black-winged demons who lived in a cavern near the border of Hades. Ikelos or Phobetor was the name of one of the three most skilful of the Oneroi, who formed the dreams of kings and chieftains. In this play, Icelor is the second son of Somnus. He is mentioned by his father, who explains to Iris that he can appear in the form of beasts and birds.
Ioculo is Ascanio's page. He is a young boy who loves his master dearly, to such an extent that he decides to go deep into the forest to search for his master's beloved Eurymine. In the course of his quest, he meets Frisco and Mopso, who are also looking for their respective parents' beloved shepherdess, who is Eurymine, and they become friends. Then, they meet some fairies, and they sing and dance with them. Their search is unfruitful for some time, and they decide to visit a wise old man, Aramanthus, and ask him for help. The wise man tells Ioculo that his master will find his lady in the shape of a man, and he also indicates him how to find his master. Ioculo is responsible for some comic and witty remarks when, at his master's amazement and disbelief when hearing that Eurymine had turned into a boy, he tries to make him understand that this is a leap year and, therefore, it should not be surprising that women wear breeches. Later he will even point out how well the breeches become the lady. But Ioculo's gaiety turns to ire when he sees Phylander, the Duke's servant, since he thinks the Duke has been unfair with his son and his beloved Eurymine, and he even wants to punish him by asking his servant to take him some accorns instead of venison. Thus, he proves faithful to his master, Ascanio, from the beginning to the end of the play.
A "ghost character." According to Roman and Greek mythology, Jove or Jupiter (or Greek Zeus) was the supreme ruler of gods and goddesses. When he was born, his mother, Ops, rescued him from his father, Saturn, who had already swallowed his sisters -Ceres, Vesta and Juno (who was also his wife)- and his bothers -Pluto and Neptune. In this play Iove is Apollo's father. The former is mentioned by the latter when he compares the affection he felt for Hiacinth with the one Iove felt for Ganimede.
According to Roman mythology, Juno (Greek Hera) was an ancient goddess and a member of the Capitoline Triad. She was also Jupiter's sister and wife, and the mother of Mars. In this play, Iuno is Iove's wife. She is the goddess that orders Iris to go to a cave in the forest where Morpheus sleeps, to wake him up, and to ask him to appear before Ascanio in a vision in order to reveal him the way to find Eurymine.
According to Roman mythology, Iris was the winged goddess of the rainbow. Depicted as a young woman with golden wings, a herald's rod or a pitcher in her hand, she was the messenger of the Olympian gods. In this play Iris is a mythological deity who always obeys Juno's wishes. Her task is to cross Venus and her son until they go mad. She also finds where Morpheus is sleeping, wake him up and tell him to appear in a vision before Ascanio and reveal him how to find his beloved Eurymine.
Little Pricke (also called just Little) is a little fairy who, when she sees a girl sleeping, peeps underneath her frock to play there, and then she bites her like a flea, and skips about. She appears singing and dancing in the forest, with Penny and Cricket, before Mopso, Frisco and Ioculo. She also offers them music and invites them to dance. The boys are also reluctant at the beginning, but they end up singing and dancing with the three fairies.
Mopso is Gemulo's son. At the beginning of the play he has escaped from his father fearing he should beat him up for a fault he had committed. He is a gay boy, who appears singing in Act II, explaining that, being a shepherd, he has to blow his horn early in the morning and late in the evening. But his father commands him a different task: he has to go in search of Eurymine, the shepherdess who takes care of their flock. Then he meets Frisco and Ioculo, they become friends, and they will have to sing and dance with three fairies. Since his quest is unsuccessful, he decides to go with his friends and visit Aramanthus. The wise man tells him his father will not get the lady, and the boy leaves to break Gemulo the bad news.
A "ghost character." According to Greek mythology, Morpheus was the name of one of the three most skilful of the Oneroi, who formed the dreams of kings and chieftains. In the play, Morpheus is the eldest son of Somnus. He can appear in human shape. At Juno's request, he appears before Ascanio in a vision, taking the shape of Eurymine, to indicate where he can find her. When his task is over, he goes back to sleep.
MUSE, SECOND and THIRD
One of the three Graces or Charites. When she realizes that Phoebus (Apollo) is not going to do anything for Eurymine, she implores him to have pity on Ascanio. When the god finally agrees to fulfill their wish, she expresses her gratitude to him. The Third Muse enters with the others, but is a non-speaking character. She dances, with the other muses, for Silvio and Gemulo at the end of the play. John Lyly probably mixed up Charites (or Graces) and Muses, because, aside from being representatives of beauty and charm, the Graces were also known to dance with the Muses to Apollo's playing, as well as be messengers for Aphrodite and Eros.
Orestes is one of the Duke's servants. He has been commanded by the Duke, together with Phylander, to kill Eurymine, and he is really sorry about the task he has to accomplish. When Eurymine urges him to tell her the reason for his gloom, he replies that Phylander is a better communicator. Furthermore, when she invites both men to tell her a story, he confesses that he is so troubled deep inside and so sad that he would not be able to tell any nice story. After hearing Phylander's tale, Orestes explains the girl that she must prepare to die, and he is ready to strike her to death. But he is prevented killing her by Phylander. Nevertheless, Orestes is determined, and he reminds his friend of their oath to kill her. However, after hearing his friend's claim that the girl is an innocent lady, he agrees not to do any harm to her. But still they must pretend to have killed her, thus, he suggests killing a goat and taking its heart to the Duke, as evidence of Eurymine's death.
Only mentioned. Apollo mentions her in his song, when he is sighing for the love of Eurymine. According to Greek mythology, Pallas Athene was the Goddess of Wisdom. She was born from Zeus's head. Second to his father in the entire Pantheon, she was Zeus's favourite child. She preferred diplomacy to conflict when settling either the affairs of state or conflicts between human beings and gods.
Only mentioned. Mopso mentions Pan when he swears he has not found his mistress (referring to Eurymine). When Ioculo identifies Pan with a kitchen god, Mopso corrects him, explaining he is the shepherds' god. Actually, Mopso is right since, according to the legend, Pan was a god born with goat legs and feet, horns, and a furry human upper body. Being ridiculed by the other gods because of his appearance, he left Olympus and went to live in Arcadia. There he spent his time playing on his pipes and chasing lovely nymphs. He was the god of flocks, forests and fields.
Only mentioned. He is mentioned by Apollo in his song, when he is sighing for the love of Eurymine. According to Greek mythology, Paris was the son of Priam and Hecuba, and brother of Hector. He began the Trojan war by kidnapping Helen.
Penny is a fairy that leaps upon flowers and travels from place to place by getting upon a fly. She appears singing and dancing in the forest, with Cricket and Little Pricke, before Mopso, Frisco and Ioculo. She offers them music and invites them to dance. The boys are reluctant at the beginning, but, at the end of Act II, they sing and dance with the three fairies.
A "ghost character." Phaeton was Phoebus's son. Apollo (Phoebus) tells Eurymine about him when she asks him to turn her into a man. Apollo explains his son had asked him for something which had undone him, because he had lost his life craving for it, and the god lost his son when he granted him his wish. According to Greek mythology, Phaeton asked to drive Phoebus's chariot. But the moment he took the reins, the powerful horses escaped his control, dragging the chariot and the boy across the sky, causing destruction everywhere. Zeus in order to control the chaotic and dangerous situation, killed Phaeton with thunderbolt.
A "ghost character." According to Greek mythology, Phantasos was the name of one of the three most skilful of the Oneroi, who formed the dreams of kings and chieftains. In the play, Phantafor is the third son of Somnus. His father mentions him and explains to Iris that he can appear in the shape of lifeless things.
An alternative name for Apollo.
Phylander is one of the Duke's servants. He has been commanded by the Duke, together with Orestes, to kill Eurymine, and, the same as his friend, he is really worried about the task he has to accomplish. When Eurymine urges him to tell her the reason for his gloom, he is reluctant to do it. However, when she invites both men to tell her a story, he talks to her about the son of a Duke, whose father wanted him to marry a noble lady, but who was in love with another, of obscure origin. The Duke then asked two of his servants to kill the young lady. Phylander then asks who she thinks was most cruel, the Duke, who was the instigator, or his servants, who obeyed orders. He then reveals that his tale was an allegory of what they have to do to her, hence the reason for their distress. After hearing the farewell song Eurymine dedicates to her beloved Ascanio when she learns she is about to die, Phylander is moved, and stops Orestes when he is about to give her the mortal stroke. He explains to his friend that he will always defend an innocent woman. Then he urges her to leave the country, so that the Duke does not find out she is still alive. But still they must pretend to have killed her, thus, he asks her for her veil to take it, together with a goat's heart, to Telemachus (the Duke), as evidence of Eurymine's death. At the end of the play, Phylander goes to the forest to look for Ascanio, Eurymine and Ioculo, following the orders of the Duke, who has grown more fatherly and mild. Finally, he takes them all back to court.
A "ghost character." Mentioned by the Second Charite, when she is reminding Apollo of his good times as a hunter. She described Pithon as a dragon of scaly wings, wounded by Apollo. According to Greek mythology, Zeus was sometimes unfaithful to Hera, his wife. He fell in love with beautiful Leto, and from her he had twins: Apollo and Artemis. Bur jealous Hera took revenge by sending them the monstruous snake Pithon, thus provoking a lot of suffering. However, when Apollo grew up, he struck Pithon with an arrow from his bow.
Only mentioned. Ioculo mentions him when he is discussing with Frisco and Mopso, and he explains Pot is the god of good fellowship.
Only mentioned. Frisco mentions him when he is discussing with Ioculo and Mopso. According to him, Priapus is a plain god, with a good peg to hang a shepherdess's bottle upon. According to Greek mythology, Priapus is a god of fertility. He is characterized by his enormous penis. He is the protector of horticulture and viticulture.
Only mentioned. Frisco mentions him when, discussing with Ioculo and Mopso, he explains that his master swears by Silvanus -the god of the woods. According to Roman mythology, Silvanus was the god of uncultivated land, forests, hunting and wild nature. Often identified with the Greek god Silenus, and even with Pan or the Satyrs, Silvanus was not part of the official Roman religion. However, his cult seems to have been very popular, since he was worshipped privately throughout Italy.
Silvio is a ranger who lives in the forest. When he sees Eurymine for the first time, he takes her for a nymph of the forest and he falls in love with her. He urges her to stay and to tell him about her. When he hears her story, he sympathizes with her and offers her his lodgings. But Gemulo, the shepherd, who has joined them, also offers his hospitality to the lady, and both men engage in a discussion, to decide which of them can offer the worthiest lodgings to Eurymine. Eurymine settles the argument by announcing she will accept the ranger's house, and Gemulo's flock to take care. When she appears before them in the shape of a man, explaining that she is her own brother, who has come to take care of Gemulo's flock, because his sister, Eurymine, has left, Silvio and Gemulo distrust "him." They think the boy is too handsome, and could be a rival rather than her brother, as he claims to be. Therefore they to see if she has really gone away. But once they have checked she is not there any longer, still mistrusting, the two men take Eurymine, in the shape of a boy, to see Aramanthus, the wise old man, in the hope that he should find out the truth. In the end, neither Silvio nor Gemulo get the lady, but, in compensation, Apollo will play his harp and the muses will dance for them.
According to mythology, Somnus is the Roman version of Greek Hypnos, the personification of sleep and twin brother of Thanatos (Death). Both brothers lived in the underworld, near the palace of their mother Nyx, goddess of the night. In this play Somnus is the God of Sleep and he has three sons: Morpheus, the eldest, Icelor and Phantafor. Somnus sends Morpheus to carry out the task of appearing in a vision before Ascanio to indicate him how to find his beloved Eurymine.
A "ghost character." Telemachus is the Duke, and Ascanius's father. He does not want his son to marry Eurymine, a girl of obscure origin, because he intends to marry his son to a girl of noble stock. Thus, he tells two of his servants to kill Eurymine. Later the Duke repents and he is glad to find out that the girl had not been murdered. Then he sends a servant, Phylander, to look for his son, his beloved one and his page, in order to bring them back to court.
In the play, three muses intercede with Apollo for Eurymine. Thalia, the First Muse, assures Ascanio that Apollo will take pity on her case. She invokes the god and asks him to redeem Eurymine from thrall. At his reluctance, she begs him again, promising that, if he shows mercy on the lady, the muses will spread his fame with their tongues. Thalia will then follow the god's command and tell the fairies to give Eurymine woman's clothes. She will dance, with the other muses, for Silvio and Gemulo at the end of the play. John Lyly probably mixed up Charites (or Graces) and Muses, because, aside from being representatives of beauty and charm, the Graces were also known to dance with the Muses to Apollo's playing, as well as be messengers for Aphrodite and Eros.
A "ghost character." Venus is the Goddess of Love. Juno mentions her to Iris, using her title 'Imperial Quen of Love', and explains that she is playing with the love of Ascanio and Eurymine, thus blaming her for their misfortune.