John Fletcher
(and Philip Massinger? Nathan Field?)


1616–circa 1618

a synoptic, alphabetical character list


Prince of Argos. Having been engaged in war with the Queen of Corinth's forces under General Leonidas, he concludes peace terms with the Corinthians by agreeing to marry Leonidas' sister, Merione. The Queen of Corinth breaks up the engagement between Merione and her own son, Theanor, in order to further this peace. On his arrival at the court of Corinth, Agenor falls passionately in love with Merione and is eager to marry her. His hopes are destroyed when she is raped on the eve of her wedding. Agenor vows revenge on Merione's unknown rapist and begs his fiancée to go through with their marriage, as her mind remains untainted by her ordeal. Merione refuses to burden Agenor with a ruined wife, leaving him only his quest for the criminal for solace. Thanks to the plots of Crates and Theanor, Agenor and Leonidas become convinced that Euphanes, the Queen's favourite, is responsible for the rape. In order to persuade the Queen to give Euphanes up to justice, they capture her son Theanor and hold him hostage. However, Euphanes surrenders himself to them and convinces them of his innocence. Thanks to the conversion of Crates, Agenor and Leonidas discover the guilt of Theanor and expose him to the court. After Theanor agrees to marry Merione in expiation of his sin against her, the Queen proposes marriage to Agenor, making him King of Corinth. He declares this "a blessing which I durst not hope for."


A group of attendants habitually appears with the Queen of Corinth when she enters. Some of these attendants also follow Euphanes after he becomes the Queen's favourite.


Beliza is a wealthy and beautiful heiress of Corinth, and the beloved of Euphanes. Having financed Euphanes, otherwise a penniless younger brother, on his martial expeditions, she is rewarded with his gratitude and adoration. She presents him to the Queen of Corinth on his victorious return, and is both pleased and a little jealous to find him becoming the Queen's favourite. She is horrified when her close friend, Merione, is raped and tries fruitlessly to comfort her, but finds some compensation when the Queen reluctantly allows Euphanes to marry her. When she shows Merione the jewels Euphanes has given her, she is unable to believe Merione's claim that Euphanes must be her rapist because he possesses the ring that was taken from her during the rape. Relieved when Euphanes' innocence is proved, she looks forward to their marriage, but is apparently raped by Theanor on the eve of the wedding. At Theanor's trial, she demands his death as punishment while his other victim, Merione, asks only that he be forced to marry her. In the end the truth emerges: it was actually Merione, disguised as Beliza, who Theanor attacked in the second rape. Theanor thus marries Merione to atone for his sins against her, and the chaste Beliza is free to marry Euphanes.


Two boys figure in the play.
  • A boy at the tavern is called upon by Conon to fetch Euphanes after Crates wagers Conon that Euphanes will no longer recognize his old friends now that he has gained the Queen's favour. The boy calls Euphanes, who proves his brother wrong by greeting his old friend joyfully.
  • Crates calls upon a second boy at the tavern to fetch Lamprias and his entourage, after he has sent the first boy to fetch Euphanes. The second boy executes his mission faithfully.


Conon is a Corinthian nobleman who has lost his Corinthian estate due to "a riot." On his arrival back in Corinth after an absence in the wars, he drinks with Crates and angers him by praising Euphanes, Crates' estranged brother. Crates wagers Conon that Euphanes, as the Queen's new favourite, will snub his old friend; however, he is proved wrong when Euphanes arrives and greets Conon very affectionately. Euphanes goes on to regain Conon's lost estate for him (much to the anger of Crates, who had gained some of it.) Euphanes and Conon become inseparable, with Conon often urging Euphanes to be less accepting of his elder brother's rudeness. When Euphanes is accused of Merione's rape, Conon tries to convince him not to face Agenor and Leonidas unarmed, but agrees to announce him when he insists on doing so. Conon then challenges Crates to a duel, wounding him. Euphanes threatens to fight Conan in his turn, as the latter has wounded his brother; he makes up his quarrel with Crates and moves Crates to repentance, whereupon Conon reveals that he started the duel to achieve precisely this effect. He then joins with Euphanes, Crates and others to expose Prince Theanor's sins against Merione and Beliza, helping to bring about the play's happy ending.


Crates is a Corinthian nobleman, a bosom friend to Prince Theanor and elder brother to Euphanes. We first see him counselling Theanor to revenge himself for his loss of Merione by raping her before her marriage to Agenor. He soon joins the Prince in carrying out and covering up this crime. It becomes clear that much of his immoral behaviour proceeds from greed for money and advancement, and from ire against Beliza, who has rejected his suit in favour of that of his despised and penniless younger brother. Once Euphanes returns from the wars, Crates goes out of his way to discredit him among the Corinthian nobility, but is frustrated to see him becoming the Queen's favourite, Beliza's fiancé, and one of the most popular and powerful men in the country. Crates takes the ridiculous Lamprias, his Uncle and Tutor under his wing in order to mock them and to set them against his brother, but Euphanes merely laughs off their insults. Crates then tries to bring Euphanes down by stirring dissent between him and Theanor, a plot which ends in Theanor's attempt to pin the rape of Merione on Euphanes. When this plot, too, is frustrated, Crates duels with Euphanes' friend Conon and is wounded. Euphanes' noble response to the duel and his pleas for friendship with his brother bring Crates to repentance, and he tells Euphanes and his friends the truth of Theanor's nefarious designs against Beliza. Thanks to Crates' confession, Theanor is brought to justice and repents.


A Drawer is called upon to serve Crates and Conon at the tavern they visit. True to the habit of other stage drawers, he responds to his master's commands with the immortal phrase, "Anon, anon, sir."


One of the gentlemen of the Corinthian court, he is invited (along with Neanthes and Sosicles) to prove his sycophantic love for Prince Theanor by joining in the rape of Merione by Theanor and Crates. The fact that he participates so willingly in this crime is unsurprising, given that he has already declared that "[a] Mother is a name, but put in balance / With a young wench 'tis nothing." He is likely one of the Maskers who appear disguised before the raped Merione and sprinkle water on her face while singing and dancing. He joins Crates in mocking Lamprias and his train, and in insulting Euphanes, but when Crates repents his ill deeds he joins Euphanes in the plot to disclose Theanor's sins, and is present at the final scene when Theanor repents his ill deeds and makes amends to Merione.


An angelically tempered Corinthian gentleman and solider, the younger brother of Crates. He is in love with the heiress Beliza, who has helped to fund his highly successful military expeditions after the cruel and greedy Crates refused to do so. Beliza introduces Euphanes to the Queen of Corinth, who becomes extremely attached to him and promotes him to a position of prominence at court. Nevertheless, Euphanes scorns to become arrogant; he repays Conon's friendship with favours, is polite and humble to all and refuses to rise to the insults paid him by his brother's cronies. When Crates stirs up trouble between Euphanes and Prince Theanor, Euphanes encourages the Queen of Corinth to favour her son's cause over his own. Instead, she decides to grant his request to be allowed to marry Beliza. In the process she unwittingly creates trouble for Euphanes by giving him the raped Merione's ring (deliberately presented to her for this purpose by the rapist, Theanor) as a bride-gift for Beliza. This gift convinces Agenor and Leonidas that Euphanes is Merione's rapist, and when the Queen refuses to believe this they take her son Theanor hostage in order to force her to give up her favourite. Seeing that the Queen will save his life rather than her son's, Euphanes nobly presents himself unarmed before the incensed Agenor and Leonidas to encourage them to set Theanor free. He convinces them of his innocence and reconciles them to the Queen. When he finds his friend Conon duelling with Crates, he sides with his brother despite their quarrels and is reconciled to him, as Conon had hoped. Crates tells Euphanes about Theanor's past sins and present designs on Beliza's virginity, upon which Euphanes concocts a plan to trap Theanor. Through his agency, Merione agrees to masquerade as Beliza and is once again raped by Theanor. Euphanes' apparent grief at the despoiling of his bride-to-be helps to bring about Theanor's trial and repentance, after which Euphanes and Beliza are at last free to marry.


An unspeaking executioner appears alongside the Flamyn at the trial of Theanor, ready to kill the Prince if his mother so sentences him in punishment for his rapes of Merione and Beliza. When it becomes apparent that Theanor attacked only Merione and that she is willing to marry him, the executioner's services become unnecessary.


The flamyn, or priest, attends the trial of Theanor in order to marry him to one of the women he has raped should the Queen assign this as her son's punishment. Presumably, it is he who celebrates the marriage of Theanor and Merione at the play's end.


Two gentlemen with torches attend Agenor on the morning of his planned wedding to Merione. They are highly amused by his fussing over his appearance and attire, remarking that men in love are ever thus.


Two gentlemen attend Euphanes when he arrives at the tavern to greet Conon.


A guard apprehends Theanor and his confederates when his apparent rape of Beliza is disclosed, and appears again around him at his trial.


Ghost character. Late husband to the Queen of Corinth and father to Prince Theanor. We learn that he was a private gentleman, raised to the throne by the Queen's love. The Queen remarks that he was the only man whose bed she ever graced.


A group of ladies-in-waiting habitually appears with the Queen of Corinth when she appears at court. None of them speak.


Also called Onos in the play's stage directions. A comic character, Lamprias is a foolish 'young' heir of fifty-six who has been led by the nose by his covetous uncle and his pedantic tutor for many years. Having tried to court the heiress Beliza, he has been sent packing in order to travel and gain maturity, and has just returned to Corinth. He is very well satisfied with his own gentlemanliness, but a figure of fun to those around him. Crates in particular mocks him and uses him to try to provoke Euphanes; however, Euphanes refuses to rise to the fool's insults. Euphanes' page, meanwhile, frightens Lamprias by threatening to beat him if he shows any further disrespect to his master. Humiliated, the heir takes the advice of his uncle and tutor and departs for a new grand tour, hoping to "come home a man" in thirty years or so.


Leonidas is a general in the army of the Queen of Corinth, much admired for his valour and wisdom. He vanquishes Agenor, Prince of Argos, in war and gains his respect and friendship. To seal a peace between the two kingdoms, Leonidas promises Agenor the hand of his sister, Merione, despite the fact that she has already been wooed and won by Prince Theanor of Corinth. Having convinced Merione to accept this new arrangement, Leonidas is horrified to find her raped and drugged outside his door on her wedding morning. He vows vengeance on the man who wronged her. Thanks to Theanor's tricks, he becomes convinced that this man was Euphanes. When the Queen refuses to give Euphanes up, Leonidas joins Agenor in capturing the Prince and holding him hostage. Euphanes' gracious behaviour in surrendering himself, unarmed, in exchange for the Prince, and his rational arguments in favour of his own innocence, convince Leonidas and Agenor that he was not responsible for the rape. They become his admirers, applaud his reconciliation with his brother, and join with him in bringing Prince Theanor to justice. In the play's final scene, Leonidas accepts Theanor's marriage of Merione as a fair recompense for his sins against her.


The Martial of the Queen's prison guards Theonor and his confederates (including Crates, Neanthes, Eraton and Sosicles) on the night before Theanor's trial for rape. He reports to Euphanes that while the other gentlemen behaved gaily and confidently in prison, Theanor showed signs of deep repentance. The Martial is then present at the Prince's trial.


Six Maskers, among whom Eraton, Neanthes and Sosicles may be included, abet Theanor and Crates' abuse of Merione after her rape. They sing and dance before her to "horrid music," and sprinkle water on her face. Presumably it is also they who are later reported to have played a masque of the rape of Proserpine before Merione.


Merione is a beautiful Corinthian noblewoman, sister to the general Leonidas. She has been courted successfully by Prince Theanor, but at the beginning of the play her brother chooses to give her instead to the Prince of Argos, Agenor, as part of the peace treaty between Corinth and Argos. Although initially doubtful and regretful about this enforced shift in her affections, Merione accepts her brother's will and is rewarded with an adoring new fiancé in Agenor. On the eve of their marriage, however, she is captured and raped by the disguised Theanor, who refuses to marry her despite her pleas and abandons her, drugged and wounded, outside the door of her house. When she awakens, she remembers her rape but is unable to identify her rapist. She sees herself as a despoiled whore and refuses to marry Agenor despite his protests; she believes that she is now unworthy, and wishes to live as a nun until death takes her. Sunk in melancholy, she is even more distressed when her friend Beliza shows her a ring stolen from her during the rape, which now appears to have been sent Beliza by Euphanes. This convinces her that Euphanes was her rapist, and she tells her brother and Agenor so, causing a near-rebellion. When it is finally discovered that Theanor was in fact the rapist and that he has new designs on Beliza, Merione agrees to disguise herself as Beliza and in this guise is raped a second time. When Theanor is arrested and tried for the two rapes, Merione asks that he be punished by being forced to marry her, while Beliza demands his death. Finally, Merione's disguised part in the rape of Beliza is revealed, and Theanor agrees to marry her in expiation for his crimes, claiming that they were caused only by his love for her.


One of the gentlemen of the Corinthian court, he is invited (along with Eraton and Sosicles) to prove his sycophantic love for Prince Theanor of Corinth by joining in the rape of Merione by Theanor and Crates. He declares that he is "sure [he] should not" put up with the treatment accorded Theanor when Leonidas and the Queen take his affianced bride, Merione, away from him. He is likely one of the Maskers who appear disguised before the raped Merione and sprinkle water on her face while singing and dancing. He joins Crates in mocking Lamprias and his train, and in insulting Euphanes, but when Crates repents his ill deeds he joins Euphanes in the plot to disclose Theanor's sins, and is present at the final scene when Theanor repents his ill deeds and makes amends to Merione.


Euphanes' page. He is incensed when he hears the ridiculous Lamprias threaten to challenge his lord to a duel. Though only a boy, he stands up to the foolish heir, threatening to beat him and to "call some dozen brother Pages, / ...and...blanket / You until you piss again." Lamprias and his entourage back down hurriedly, vowing henceforward to behave respectfully toward Euphanes. The Page later helps Conon in his plot to reconcile Crates and Euphanes, scurrying off to summon Euphanes when Crates and Conon begin to duel. He also summons Euphanes when the Queen seeks him.


The Queen of Corinth, mother to Prince Theanor. It is clear that she is Queen by heredity, not by marriage, as we are told that she raised her husband, the King, to royalty through her love. The Queen is an exemplary Spartan lady, dedicated to the ideals of public justice and stoicism even at great personal cost. At the beginning of the play, she accedes to Leonidas' request that she give his sister Merione to Agenor despite the fact that she had already promised Merione to her own son, Theanor. After Merione is raped, she vows to punish the evil-doer no matter who he may turn out to be. She conceives a passionate regard for the young soldier, Euphanes, after he is recommended to her by Beliza, and promotes him to the position of her favourite. She shows some inclination toward marriage with him, and owns herself jealous of Beliza, but eventually relents and allows the two to plan their wedding. In the process, she unwittingly puts Euphanes in danger by giving him a ring that she in turn had received from Theanor; it is Merione's ring, taken from her when she was raped, and when Euphanes gives it to Beliza her friends become convinced that he was Merione's rapist. Agenor and Leonidas capture Theanor in an effort to force the Queen to give up Euphanes, but she utterly refuses to do so, declaring that she will never abandon an innocent man. When she eventually discovers that Theanor himself was the rapist, she disowns him on the grounds that her son was a free man, while Theanor has made himself a slave. She is willing to execute him to satisfy Beliza despite her own motherly feelings; but when she discovers that he raped only Merione and that Merione is willing to marry him, she is vastly relieved. She closes the play by proposing to assuage Agenor's loss of Merione by marrying him herself, declaring that she is not "[s]o farre in debt to yeares, but that she may / Bring [him] a lusty Boy."


A servant attends Merione when she meets her brother Leonidas in their home, and again as she goes to Vesta's temple on the night before her marriage with Agenor. This seems likely to be the same servant who introduces Euphanes to Merione's presence when he arrives to present the fateful ring to Beliza.


One of the gentlemen of the Corinthian court, he is invited (along with Neanthes and Sosicles) to prove his sycophantic love for Prince Theanor of Corinth by joining in the rape of Merione by Theanor and Crates. He is the first of the three gentlemen to toady to the Prince when the latter condescends to ask for their support. He is likely one of the Maskers who appear disguised before the raped Merione and sprinkle water on her face while singing and dancing. He joins Crates in mocking Lamprias and his train, and in insulting Euphanes, but when Crates repents his ill deeds he joins Euphanes in the plot to disclose Theanor's sins, and is present at the final scene when Theanor repents his ill deeds and makes amends to Merione.


Prince of Corinth, son of the Queen of Corinth and her late husband. He has courted and won the hand of Merione, Leonidas' sister, but his mother and Leonidas take his affianced bride from him to marry her to Agenor, Prince of Argos. Incensed by this and burning with desire for Merione, he accepts his friend Crates' counsel that he rape her before her marriage to Agenor. Having done so, he leaves her before her house, assuming that she will either run mad or will hide her shame. Instead, she openly bewails her rape, so that Theanor (who is present when she is found) must keep up a hypocritical façade of shock at the tragedy. He then becomes increasingly incensed as he watches his mother's growing affection for Euphanes. He mocks the young soldier to his face and maligns him to the Queen, but none of his actions can shake Euphanes' stoical humility or the Queen's fixed love for her favourite. Therefore, on Crates' suggestion, he tries to fix the guilt of Merione's rape on Euphanes by giving a ring he had stolen from her to his mother, who then gives it to Euphanes as a bride-gift for Beliza. As a result of these actions, Theanor is captured and held hostage by Agenor and Leonidas in an effort to convince the Queen to give up Euphanes. He attempts to slander Euphanes to them, but willingly allows himself to be set free when Euphanes nobly comes to offer himself in Theanor's stead. Theanor then compounds his crimes by deciding to rape Beliza before she can marry Euphanes - an idea that shocks even Crates. After Crates is reconciled to Euphanes, Theanor's crimes are discovered and he is captured. In prison he feels deep repentance, declaring himself more than willing to die for his sins. Beliza pretends to demand his death at his trial, but when it is revealed that only Merione was raped it is agreed that Theanor should atone for his crimes by marrying her. Thus, all's well that ends well, at least by the standards of Corinth's rape laws.


The tutor to Lamprias in the play's comic subplot, this thin and pedantic wretch is somewhat more sympathetic to his young/old charge than is Lamprias' uncle. He boasts of having trained up a true gentleman, and joins with Lamprias in mocking Euphanes. Nevertheless, he too is cowed when the foolish trio of nephew, uncle and tutor are bested by Euphanes' page and satirically dubbed "knights of the pantofle" by the youth of the court. He counsels another thirty years' travel as a cure for the humiliation attendant on this experience.


Lamprias' uncle seems marginally the least foolish and the most malignant of the trio of fools formed by nephew, uncle and tutor. It is clear that he has kept his fifty-six-year-old nephew in training for so many years in order to keep control of his land and money. He joins his nephew and the tutor in currying favour with Crates and Theanor by insulting Euphanes, and is bested along with them by Euphanes' fiery young page. When Lamprias declares himself unbearably humiliated by this experience, his uncle hopes that he will run mad ("and then all's mine"). He suggests that Lamprias could cure his own shame by hanging or drowning himself, but his nephew prefers the tutor's suggestion of more travel, and so the trio departs Corinth for another thirty years of educational touring.


An obsequious vintner or "host" attends on Crates and Conon when they drink at an inn, serving them wine with his own hands and commanding the Drawer to wait upon them.