(and John Day?)
THE WONDER OF A KINGDOM
(Same play as Day's presumably lost
COME SEE A WONDER,
that was licensed 18 September 1623?)
Day's play performed by "strangers" at the Red Bull
Dekker's by Queen Henrietta's Men
a synoptic, alphabetical character list
Alisandra, also once spelled Alesandra, is the daughter of Lord Nicoletto Vanni and Dariene. She has been secretly in love with Tibaldo Neri ever since she first saw him at their initial meeting at the court of the Duke of Florence. She only appears again when she attempts to persuade Tibaldo, disguised as a woman, to be her bedfellow for the night. However, Alisandra mistaking the disguised Tibaldo for his sister, Alphonsina, Alisandra confesses her love for him. Tibaldo later tells his sister that he has changed his mind about Dariene and wishes to marry Alisandra instead. Shortly after, Cargo, a servant to Nicoletto Vanni, informs his master that he saw Tibaldo "kiss my yong Mistris." Lord Vanni finally gives his blessings to their marriage.
Alphonsina, also once called Angelica, is Tibaldo Neri's sister. A self-confident woman, she is repeatedly torn between fidelity to her convictions and practical necessities that demand that she break them. Namely, to help her brother attain his beloved Dariene, she must betray her own sex. In the play's initial scene, Alphonsina dismisses Nicoletto Vanni's advances. Later, she finds her brother Tibaldo dispirited; he explains that he is in love with Vanni's wife Dariene. Alphonsina mocks his love, and only seemingly agrees to help him win Dariene. She advises him to go to a tavern, get drunk, and forget her. Soon after, Alphonsina receives a jewel and a letter from Vanni. In the letter, he expresses affection for her and invites her to come to his house. Despite her initial protest she finally concedes to her brother's request and accepts Vanni's invitation, knowing that she has "walls of chastity / strong enough [...] to keep him from making any breach". At Lord Vanni's home, when Alphonsina indignantly complains to her brother about the part she will play only to satisfy her brother's desire, he tells her that he has changed his mind and wants to marry Alisandra. Alphonsina, then confesses to her brother that she has fallen in love with Trebatio. Having conferred with Dariene and Trebatio earlier, Alphonsina has agreed to mock Nicoletto's advances. Finally, as Dariene uncovers her scheme to Lord Vanni, she reveals to him Alphonsina's role and forthcoming marriage to their son.
Alternate name of Alphonsina, used once.
Lotti, often called by his first name, Angelo, is the banished lover of Fiametta. Banished from Florence for his supposed treasonable dealings with the Genoway's, Lotti first appears with his servingman, Baptista. He confronts Piero, the Duke's son, and his friend Iaspero, and Piero accuses Lotti not only of having stolen his sister's heart, but also of making her reject a marriage proposal from the Prince of Pisa. Lotti acknowledges the accusation, but denies responsibility for Piero's rage. They briefly fight, but Lord Vanni suddenly enters and appeases them, asking Lotti the reason for his return to Pisa in spite of his banishment. Angelo replies that he came back only to take his leave. He then exits, but soon returns, disguised as a physician from France. He is received by the Duke of Florence, who, thinking Lotti to be a real doctor, appeals to him to cure his daughter from an unknown illness. Lotti's diagnosis is that the Duke's daughter has a "great desire of a man," that is, she is lovesick. The only cure for Fiametta to overcome her love is for Angelo to kill the man she loves, take his heart, grate it, mix it with wine, and finally administer the resultant potion to her. Shortly after his discussion with the Duke, Angelo secretly reveals himself to Fiametta and attempts to explain his plan to escape with her when the Duke enters. Lotti, who is still disguised as a doctor, continues his part, whilst Fiametta reveals the truth to her father, who believes she has gone mad. Lotti reaffirms that the potion made of Angelo's heart is the only cure with which to save Fiametta's wits. After the Duke leaves, Lotti decides to abandon the court and seek sanctuary with a friar. Dressed as a friar, Lotti is discovered by Piero, who brings him back to the Florentine court. There, Lotti meets Fiametta again and asks her whom she seeks among the people present. She questions him about his love for her, but when he is asked whether Angelo would marry her, he publicly refuses. A heart-broken and enraged Fiametta decides to marry the Prince of Pisa, but asks her father to take the friar with her, so he could be her confessor for the night. On the next morning Fiametta reveals to her father and the Prince of Pisa that the friar has secretly married her to Lotti. After some dispute, the Duke reluctantly agrees to Lotti and Fiametta's marriage
A non-speaking character. Angelo is a servant to Alphonsina. Together with Luca, he is asked to play music to Tibaldo Neri.
Together with the Broker, the Apothecary is one of the play's parasitical characters. He appears at Iacomo Gentili's home to ask him for money under false pretences. At his entry, the Apothecary bribes one of Iacomo's serving-men with gold for preferment. When brought to Iacomo Gentili, he offers his services. When his offer to become Iacomo's apothecary is rejected, he is indignant about the refusal and attempts to get back the money he gave to one of Iacomo's serving-men. He demands fifty crowns from Iacomo. Through the naming of a number of treatments, such as purgation and a vomit, suggested by the Apothecary, Iacomo discovers that the Apothecary has bribed one of his servants, and has him led away.
Asinius Buzardo is a foolish gentleman who only appears briefly at the beginning of the play. When Asinius arrives at Iacomo Gentili's home, he hands a letter from Ieronimo Guydanes to Iacomo. In it, Guydanes asks Gentili to take Buzardo into his service. Iacomo Gentili enquires about Asinius' gentlemanly qualities, or skills, but Asinius only replies foolishly. Finally, Iacomo sends him away. He never returns to the stage.
Baptista, Angelo Lotti's faithful, cautious and supportive friend, mostly comments on his friend's actions. He is the counterpart to the love-stricken hero, and often advises him to make safer choices than the irrational actions he ultimately takes. He defends Lotti against Piero's initial claims to have stolen his sister's heart, and later advises an as a Lotti (disguised as the doctor) to abduct Fiametta and escape. On another occasion, Baptista warns Lotti, who is preoccupied by his plotting with Fiametta, of the Duke's approach.
Together with the Apothecary, the usurious Broker makes up the cast of parasites who appear at Iacomo's home to ask him for money under false pretences. The Broker initially pretends to be destitute, having lost all his goods in a fire. Knowing Iacomo to be a generous and benevolent man, he asks to borrow one hundred pounds, and receives this from Iacomo's Steward. But when a lame soldier suddenly arrives and exposes the Broker's real intentions and character, the Broker admits his guilt. As just punishment for his usury, Iacomo offers the Broker "a hundred blows" or the repayment of the hundred pounds to the soldier. Eventually the Broker gives in, performs the latter penance, and departs.
An unnamed brother of Torrenti. This gentleman was born in Florence and captured by Turks in an attempt to free Rhodes. He escaped Turkish captivity after three years as a galley slave, and made his way back to Torrenti. At his arrival at his brother's home, he asks him for help, but is repulsed, as Torrenti judges him only by his appearance, and pretends not to know him. After having tried to make Torrenti see that he really is his brother, he starts to recount the events of his journey to Rhodes and his captivity. Distraught to have realised that he can expect neither pity, food, nor clothes from his brother, he threatens him, but only incurs more scorn. Torrenti provokes his brother further by causing a table covered with food, and guarded by two gallants with pistols, to be carried past him. The Brother snatches a pistol, rebukes Torrenti and prophecies that his fortunes will not last much longer. At Iacomo Gentili's residence, the Brother appears again as the last of a trio of suppliants-the others being the Broker and the Apothecary, and Gentili provides for his needs.
Cargo is a witty and teasing character who acts as Lord Nicoletto Vanni's man. He usually delivers news and invitations, and occasionally comments on his master's actions. Throughout the play he engages in witty exchanges, playing upon the theme of his old master's desire for Alphonsina. It is Cargo who first informs Vanni and Dariene of Angelo Lotti's banishment from Florence. Later, as his master reveals his plot how to win Alphonsina he mocks the old man's desire for so young a lady. He delievers a jewel and a letter declaring Vanni's desire to Alphonsina. In the denouement of the Lord Vanni-Alphonsina plot, he announces Dariene's arrival, but then disappears from the action.
Dariene is old Nicoletto Vanni's wife and Tibaldo Neri's love interest. Despite her strategic importance in the plot, she is allocated only a short yet crucial appearance at the end of the play. The night Nicoletto attempts to seduce Alphonsina under the pretence of reading an important book, Dariene tells him she would be spending the night with a "femall bed-fellow"the disguised Tibaldo Neri. However, Dariene's daughter Alisandra persuades Tibaldo to spend the night with her instead. Meanwhile, Nicoletto's advances towards Alphonsina are suddenly discovered by Dariene. She scolds him for his infatuation and his attempts to win Alphonsina, and tells him that the girl is already promised to his own son, Trebatio. Finally, Dariene reveals that she, Alphonsina and Trebatio had long been mocking Nicoletto's dotage.
The The Doctor is the disguise taken by Angelo Lotti.
A "ghost character." He is mentioned, once, by the Nurse, as the doctor with whom Fiametta finds most comfort during her pretended illness.
DUKE of FLORENCE
The Duke of Florence is the father of Fiametta and Piero. Pondering his old age the Duke announces his plans to marry Fiametta to the Prince of Pisa, and thus to unite Florence and Pisa. He charges his courtiers to go and invite Signior Torrenti and Iacomo Gentili to the marriage. Meanwhile, Fiametta seemingly falls ill, and the Duke questions a Nurse about her illness. Desperate to find a cure and to appease the Prince of Pisa, who has realized that Fiametta does not desire to marry him, he receives a Doctor from France, the disguised Angelo. The Duke approves of the Doctors proposed cure to give Fiametta Angelo's heart to drink, and commands to have Angelo brought to court. Meanwhile, Fiametta, after Angelo has revealed his true identity to her, craves from her father a pardon for Angelo, whom, she tells him, is the French doctor. The Duke thinking she has gone mad, tries to soothe her, but to no avail. Angelo, who took refuge with a friar, is finally discovered by Piero and brought before the Duke of Florence. Here Angelo seemingly abjures Fiametta and refuses to marry her. The Duke, who thinks her cured, and the way for the marriage with the Prince of Pisa free, discovers on the next morning that he has been deceived when his daughter proclaims she has secretly married Angelo the night before. Furious about the deceit he threatens Angelo with death, but is finally persuaded by his son Piero to accept the marriage.
Fiametta, or Fyametta, is the daughter of the Duke of Florence. Secretly in love with Angelo Lotti, she is expected to marry the Prince of Pisa in accordance with her father's will. After the Duke announces this engagement, Fiametta tries to prevent the marriage by counterfeiting illness. It is the disguised Angelo Lotti who tells the Duke of Florence that Fiametta is suffering from love sickness for Angelo. When he reveals his identity to her, she instantly asks her father to pardon him, revealing that he is the 'French Doctor'; but the Duke only thinks she has gone "starke mad." When Angelo is brought before the Duke, Fiametta bursts onto the stage and runs to her lover. She asks him if he loves her and if he would marry her, but he refuses, pretending to have fallen out of love with her. Seemingly hurt, she turns from him and promises to marry the Prince of Pisa, choosing the very next day to celebrate her wedding. However, she asks for the Friar, Angelo's confidant, to confess her at midnight. The next day, she announces that she has been secretly married to Angelo. A furious Duke demands to have Angelo hanged, but is told that it was not Angelo who had arranged the marriage. Fiametta, as the Friar tells the Duke, had asked Angelo to marry her, which he refused three times. Seeing no other way out of her misery, Fiametta threatened to kill herself, and thus forced Angelo to marry her in order to prevent her death. Fiametta blames her father for having betrothed her to the Prince of Pisa against her will, and now demands that he acknowledge her marriage. Finally, she grants the Prince of Pisa one last favor: a willow, signifying unrequited love.
The Friar, or Fryar, performs the secret marriage between Angelo Lotti and Fiametta. He grants Angelo shelter after his escape from the Duke of Florence, but is subsequently taken to court after Angelo's discovery by Piero. The Friar agrees to be Fiametta's confessor and secretly marries her to Angelo, but only after she has threatened to commit suicide if she cannot marry him. In the final scene, the Friar recounts story of the secret marriage to the Florentine court.
GALLANTS, FIRST, SECOND, and FOURTH
The Gallants are servants to Signior Torrenti. Their function is purely expository. They respond to Signior Torrenti's complaints and questions, and introduce other characters, such as Torrenti's brother. A Third Gallant does not appear under that designation.
A "ghost character." Mentioned by Cargo in the context of Angelo Lotti's alleged treasonous dealings with the Genoway (Genoese), the Genoway provides the official reason for Angelo's banishment from Florence. However, Nicoletto Vanni implies that the Genoway was simply a pretext for Angelo's banishment, calculated to make way for the Prince of Pisa to marry Fiametta.
The Goldsmith accuses one of the servants of Iacomo Gentili's Steward of having stolen a jewel from Iacomo. He informs Iacomo that he became suspicious when the servant only asked for a fourth of the jewel's actual value. Consequently, the Goldsmith had the servant interrogated and imprisoned. Suspicious of the Goldsmith's motives, Iacomo accuses him of dishonesty, since the only reason why the Goldsmith reported the incident seems to be that the jewel belongs to Iacomo. The Goldsmith is expelled and charged to release the servant and pay his fine.
Iacomo Gentili is a wealthy and altruistic gentleman famous for his magnanimous hospitality and charity. Iacomo welcomes four courtiers Mutio, Philippo, Tornelli and Montinello, all patronized by the Duke of Florence, to his newly built home. When the curious courtiers ask Iacomo after the costs of the home, Iacomo claims that he has paid all expenses except for the three hundred Doric pillars in his court. Instead of revealing the overall sum of the costs, he refers to a volume which comprises all the expenses of those many years' work. The key to this volume Iacomo entrusted to his Steward. Montinello commands the Steward to read out the sum from the book, but Iacomo immediately orders the book to be burnt and sends the Steward offstage. Iacomo's description of his house, with its seven gates, twelve vast rooms and 365 windows reveals not only Iacomo's wealth, but also his hospitality. With each of the building's features symbolizing the division of time into the days of the week, moons per year and the number of days per year, Iacomo Gentili associates his home with his continual readiness to help the needy. Montinello advises Iacomo to take a wife and produce an heir. Iacomo rejects this, replying that his beneficiaries will be his heirs. Mutio then presents a jewel to Iacomo as a gift from the Duke of Florence, and Phillipo tells him that the Duke intends to be his visitor. After the courtiers have taken their leave from Iacomo, he receives the foolish gentlemen Asinius Buzardo, who was sent by Ieronimo Guidanes. In a letter, Guidanes asks Iacomo to take Buzardo into his service. Iacomo Gentili employs him, but shortly sends him away. Later, Iacomo is approached by a Broker, an Apothecary, a Goldsmith and Torrenti's brother. All, except for Torrenti's brother, attempt to exploit Iacomo's generosity, but eventually fail when their ulterior motives are found out. Finally, Iacomo follows the Duke's invitation, and meets the now destitute spendthrift Signor Torrenti. In his final comment he summarizes the moral of Torrenti's tale of profligacy and ruin.
Iasparo, or Iaspero, is Piero's friend. After his and Piero's first encounter with Angelo Lotti, he changes his friend's mind about Angelo, convincing Piero to judge Angelo an honorable man. He then disappears from the action.
A "ghost character." He is mentioned as the author of a letter to Iacomo Gentili. Guydanes is amongst Iacomo Gentili's "bosome friends." In his letter, he asks Iacomo to employ the foolish gentlemen Asinius Buzardo.
Having been victimised by the Broker's usury, the Lame Soldier appears at the court of Iacomo Gentili and accuses the Broker of his corrupt dealings and insatiable greed, which have ruined not only the soldier and his family, but other too. The Lame Soldier receives the hundred pounds Iacomo had first bestowed on the Broker, in recompense for his troubles and as a punishment for his usurious creditor.
A "ghost character." The Lord Abbot is the uncle to Iacomo Gentili. Iacomo mentions him when recounting the story of his inherited wealth. In a Faustian pact with the devil, Lord Abbot accumulated immense riches which he hid in secret caves. On his deathbed, however, he declares Iacomo to be the sole inheritor of his wealth under the condition to pray for his soul, and to use the money to help those who are in need. Having caused Iacomo to become wealthy, Lord Abbot also inspires his magnanimity.
LORD NICOLETTO VANNI
The Florentine aristocrat Lord Nicoletto Vanni is Dariene's husband, and father of their daughter Alisandra, an old friend of the Duke, and the uncle of the prodigal Signior Torrenti. Like Tibaldo Neri, he is a secret lover. His and Tibaldo's schemes to gain access to the women they love drives much of the play's plot. In Act IV, Vanni's final attempt to seduce Alphonsina provokes the resolution of the two secret lovers' pursuits. Vanni appears extremely energetic in spite of his age. After the initial meeting at court, he intervenes in Angelo Lotti and Piero's swordfight, and parts them immediately. He questions Angelo about his presence in Florence, and reminds him that he has been officially banished. After Angelo's subsequent departure, Lord Vanni commands his servant Cargo to deliver a jewel and love letter to Fiammeta, who had mockingly rejected his earlier advances. Cargo returns with Alphonsina's reply, and Vanni immediately leaves for the Florentine court. There, at a procession led by Signior Torrenti, Vanni's nephew, he rebukes his nephew for his profligacy. Lord Vanni admonishes him to be careful with his inherited riches, or he will find himself bankrupt. The next time Lord Vanni appears on stage, he takes leave from his wife under the pretence of having to read an important document for the Duke, but steals away to Alphonsina's chamber, where he attempts to seduce her. This is interrupted when his son Trebatio, enters, playing a flute. Alphonsina seems to dismiss Trebatio, assuring Lord Vanni that he has won her. However, Cargo suddenly storms on stage to tell his master that Dariene has found out her husband's adulterous intentions. She enters and explains that she knew all along and that she, Alphonsina and Trebatio had deliberately played this trick on Vanni. She informs him that his son and Alphonsina are engaged. Vanni gives them his blessing, and asks his wife for forgiveness.
Montinello is one of the four courtiers. Together with Mutio, Philippo, and Tornelli, he is sent to Iacomo Gentili to invite him to the marriage of the Duke's son Piero. Montinello serves a purely expository role, providing information about Iacomo's character and his background. Montinello enquires about Iacomo Gentili's wealth and the significance of his home's unusual architectural features. He also suggests that Iacomo Gentili should take a wife and produce an heir, advice the latter emphatically rejects. Montinello only briefly reappears as a mute character in the following scene.
Mutio is one of the four courtiers. Together with Montinello, Philippo, and Tornelli, he is sent to Iacomo Gentili to inivite him to the marriage of the Duke's son daughter Fiammeta to the Prince of Pisa. He and Philippo also appear at Signior Torrenti's home. On behalf of the Duke, they invite themselves as guests to his hospitality.
The Nurse, also called the Old Nurse, tends the supposedly ill Fiammetta. She informs the Duke of Florence about Fiammetta's illness, whilst complaining about her exuberant demands. The Nurse is the only character to suspect and question the disguised Angelo Lotti's proposed treatments for Fiammetta. When the others ignore her advice, she storms off in protest.
Piero is the son of the Duke of Florence. He first appears in the play's initial major conflict, contending with the banished Angelo Lotti. Assuming that Angelo tried to break up the arranged marriage between his sister Fiammetta and the Prince of Pisa, he challenges Angelo to a swordfight. Lord Vanni stops this, and reminds Angelo that he has been banished from Florence. After Angelo's departure, Iasparo, Piero's friend, defends Angelo to the suspicious Piero, citing Angelo's gentlemanly virtues. Ultimately persuaded, Piero pities Angelo and promises neither to harm Angelo nor to stand in his way again. In his later appearances, Piero's business is mostly expository. In the final act, Piero defies his father to defend Angelo and support his marriage to Fiammeta.
Phillippo is one of the four courtiers. Together with Montinello, Mutio, and Tornelli, he is sent to Iacomo Gentili to inivite him to the marriage of the Duke's son daughter Fiammetta to the Prince of Pisa. He and Philippo also appear at Signior Torrenti's home. On behalf of the Duke, they invite themselves as guests to his hospitality.
PRINCE of PISA
The Duke's intended groom for his daughter Fiametta, the Prince of Pisa realises very soon that Fiammeta does not love him, and tells the Duke what he suspects. However, the Duke blames his daughter's illness for her apparent dislike for the Prince. It is only after the disguised Angelo Lotti has revealed himself to Fiammeta and after she attempts to convince her father that the French doctor really is Angelo, that Pisa starts to believe she is not playing false, but is, as the Doctor diagnoses, mad. His suspicions are proven in the final act, when Fiammeta and Angelo declare to the Duke of Florence that they have been secretly married by the Friar. Although Pisa swears to separate the bond by force, he finally admits that he has lost Fiammeta, and relinquishes her, swearing never again to trust a woman.
The Steward acts as Iacomo Gentili's servant, and often judges people superficially. He is entrusted with the key to his master's books that enlist the costs for Iacomo's new home. During his stay at Iacomo Gentili's home, Montinello commands the Steward to open one of the books containing the total sum of expenses Iacomo had spent on building his new home. At first the Steward complies, but is immediately rebuked by Iacomo and send off to burn the book. Later Iacomo inquires the Steward about the whereabouts of a jewel the Duke had sent him as a present. Although he does not answer, the Steward blushes when asked and thus admits his guilt to have sold the jewel and betrayed Iacomo Gentili.
Alphonsina's brother Tibaldo Neri is secretly in love with Dariene, Lord Nicoletto Vanni's wife. Like Vanni, he is a secret lover. His and Vanni's schemes to gain access to the women they love drives much of the play's complex plot. Lovesick for Dariene, Tibaldo begs his sister to advise and help him to seduce her. Alphonsina refuses, telling him to forget her. However, when Alphonsina receives Lord Vanni's letter and the jewel, Tibaldo recognizes an opportunity to gain access to Dariene. He finally persuades his sister to accept Lord Vanni's invitation and disguises himself as a woman to accompany her. On their way Tibaldo explains to his sister what he intends to do: Alphonsina must promise to sleep with Lord Vanni the next night, thus enticing him away from his wife. Meanwhile, Tibaldo will disguise himself as a woman and ask Dariene to be "her" bedfellow. The scheme fails when Dariene's daughter, Alisandra, thinks that the disguised Tibaldo is his own sister, Alphonsina, offers to share her bed, and reveals her own secret love for Tibaldo. After Alisandra leaves, Tibaldo confesses to Alphonsina that he has changed his mind about Dariene, and wants to marry Alisandra. He and Alisandra then receive Lord Vanni's consent to marry.
Signior Torrenti is the prodigal nephew of Lord Nicolleto Vanni. From his first appearance, he distinguishes himself as a self-indulging, narcissistic and contemptible person. He and Iacomo Gentili are polar opposites of vice and virtue. He mocks Iacomo's generosity and wishes him to die a beggar for his assumed greatness. When his brother, who had been captured by Turks and enslaved on one of their galleys, returns to ask for help, Torrenti pretends not to know him and refuses help. Not only does he deny his own brother food, clothes and shelter, he mocks him in his helplessness. When Torrenti has a guarded table covered with dishes carried in front of his brother, the latter snatches one of the pistols and shoots it into the air, cursing Torrenti, then exits the stage. Soon after, Mutio and Philippo arrive at Torrenti's home and praise him for his "hospitable princely house-keeping." They invite themselves in the name of the Duke, and Torrenti receives them as his guests and immediately boasts with his wealth. The beginning of Act 4 shows a generous and self-satisfied Torrenti giving away jewels and ropes to the Duke of Florence, and a gold chain to each courtier. Nicoletto Vanni, Torrenti's uncle, reproves his nephew for his extravagant lifestyle and predicts that he will bankrupt himself. The indignant Torrenti only dismisses his uncle's warning and leaves. However, in the final scene, Vanni is proven right, when Torrenti enters as a beggar.
Like Alisandra, Lord Vanni's son Trebatio only appears briefly at the play's beginning, and again in Act IV. Early on, Alphonsina confesses she has fallen in love with Trebantio and wants to marry him. Trebatio's most important plot function is his part in his mother's plan to mock her husband's pursuit of Alphonsina. Trebantio intrudes upon the attempted seduction, playing a lute. He pretends to woo Alphonsina, who seems to refuses his advances, and thus reinforces Lord Vanni's belief that she is in love with him. Dariene finally ends the charade, informing her husband that Trebatio has won Alphonsina's heart, and the play concludes with marriage.