Johannus Jeffere

(an adaptation of Grazzini's La Spiritata)

1563–circa 1565

a synoptic, alphabetical character list


Amedeus, an elderly Florentine, loves his money more than he loves his son, Formosus' happiness. He refuses to allow Formosus to marry his sweetheart, Rosimunda, because her father, Brancatius, cannot pay a dowry of 3,000 crowns. Instead, Amedeus accepts this sum from Cantalopo as dowry for the latter's daughter, Iphigenia, to marry Formosus. Amedeus relents only after being fooled into thinking that his house is haunted by spirits (buggbears) who stole the 3,000 crown dowry out of Amedeus' own strongbox and threatened to burn down his mansion with all its occupants.


Biondello, servant to the miserly Amedeus, successfully plots against his master to obtain the latter's approval for Amedeus' son, Formosus, to marry Rosimunda. Biondello develops the scheme and orchestrates costumed conspirators and special effects so effectively that Amedeus is frightened into thinking that his home is haunted by spirits (buggbears) who steal the money needed for Rosimunda's dowry. Biondello recruits and coaches every key player in the plot against Amedeus, including the pretended exorcist, Trappola. Like the other servants in Buggbears, Biondello mocks his master and seems wiser than he.


Brancatius betroths his daughter, Rosimunda, to Cantalupo, who is old enough to be her father. She is saved from this mismatch to marry her secret husband, only when Brancatius is fooled into accepting sufficient dowry money from his brother, Donatus.


A "ghost character." Camillus, Amedeus' next door neighbor, makes possible the make believe haunting of Amedeus' home by allowing his own home as staging area, and he also participates in the noisy charade to help Formosus win his wife. However, Camillus does not appear in the play.


Cantalupo pays 3,000 crowns in dowry to Amedeus to contract his daughter, Iphigenia, in marriage to Amedeus' son, Formosus. This rejection of Iphigenia's desire to marry Manutius plays on Amedeus' greed to remove Formosus as a rival for the hand of Rosimunda. Cantalupo lusts after the much younger Rosimunda even after he learns that she is pregnant by another man, but he is maneuvered out of the engagement by the contrivance of Trappola, the pretend astrologer, and Squartacantino, Cantalupo's own servant.


Carolino, servant to Manutius, assists in creating the illusion that Amedeus' house is haunted by vengeful spirits.


Catella, Iphigenia's servant, supports her lady when Iphigenia is heartbroken over being engaged against her will to Formosus.


This is probably a reference to all the cast members joining in the song which ends the play. If a separate character, this song marks his/her only appearance.


Donatus gladly joins the conspiracy against Amedeus by laundering 3,000 crowns robbed from the latter's house and gives the ducats and crusadoes to his brother, Brancatius, as dowry for Rosimunda, Brancatius' daughter, to marry Amedeus' son, Formosus. Donatus, a bachelor, is the only one of the four old men in Buggbears who is not made fun of by the servants or taken in by the make believe haunting. At the end of the play Donatus proclaims Rosimunda his sole heir.


Formosus marries Rosimunda and impregnates her, but these facts are kept secret from all but their personal servants and a few friends who conspire with him to trick his father, Amedeus, into allowing a public marriage ceremony. Formosus deeply loves Rosimunda but cares too much about his inheritance to tell Amedeus the truth. Instead, Formosus weakly stands by while his father contracts his marriage to Iphigenia, Cantalupo's daughter. His marriage to Rosimunda is saved only through a complex scheme masterminded by Biondello, Amedeus' servant, in which Formosus helps convince his father that spirits have entered their house to punish Amedeus for snatching Iphigenia from her true love, Manutius.


Iphigenia is betrothed against her will by her father, Cantalupo, to Formosus, Amedeus' son. She loves Manutius so fervently that she contemplates suicide until Cantalupo breaks off the engagement and betroths her instead to Manutius.


Manutius loves Iphigenia, Cantalupo's daughter, and despairs like her to the brink of suicide when Cantalupo betroths her to Formosus. In costume Manutius portrays one of the spirits that haunts Amedeus' house, a rouse which helps persuade old Cantalupo to call off the engagement and betroth Iphigenia to him.


Phillida, a servant in Brancatius' home, argues with Tomasine, another servant, over administration of medicine to Rosimunda, Brancatius' daughter.


Piccinino, servant to Camillus, Amedeus' next door neighbor, complains constantly about being inconvenienced by Camillus' orders, but helps create the special effects that convince Amedeus that his residence is full of devilish spirits.


A "ghost character." Rosimunda, referred to once in Buggbears as Rosimunda di Medici, is married to and pregnant by Formosus, facts unknown to her father, Brancatius, who contracts her in marriage to the elderly Cantalupo. Although a key figure in the plot, she does not appear in the play.


Squartacantino, servant to Cantalupo, makes fun of the foolishness he sees in his elderly master's lust to marry Rosimunda, who is young enough to be Cantalupo's daughter. Squartacantino's banter helps coax Cantalupo to break the engagement.


Tomasine, nurse to the pregnant Rosimunda, aids her mistress physically and supports her emotionally.


Trappola, a friend of Biondello, Amedeus' servant, is recruited by the former to impersonate Nostradamus, the famous French astrologer, as an expert in exorcising spirits and curing disease. Trappola convinces the skeptical Amedeus that his house is haunted by bloodthirsty spirits, the dotard Cantalupo that he should not marry the young Rosimunda, and the elderly Brancatius that his daughter is cured of her mysterious illness (pregnancy).