THE SHEPHERD'S PARADISE
9 January 1633
a synoptic, alphabetical character list
Agenor is the friend of Basilino, the Prince of Castile. He is also, secretly, the lover of Fidamira, whom his friend Basilino also loves. After adopting the disguise of Genorio, he accompanies Basilino to the Shepherd's Paradise, where he falls in love with Bellesa, who is in reality Saphira, Princess of Navarre. Leaving the Shepherd's Paradise disguised as a pilgrim, he meets the King of Castile and reveals Basilino's whereabouts to him. He finds that he cannot maintain his faith to Fidamira, who is falsely reported dead, and hints to Bellesa that he loves her. At the end of the play, he is revealed to be Pallante, Prince of Navarre, saved as an infant from the siege of Pamplona and therefore brother to both Fidamira and to Saphira, the two women with whom he has been in love. A match is proposed for him with Arabella, the Princess of Castile and Basilino's sister.
A "ghost character." Arabella is the daughter of the King of Castile and Basilino's sister. At the end of the play, she is proposed as a consort to Prince Pallante, formerly known as Agenor. She does not appear in the play.
Basilino is the Prince of Castile. A match has been arranged for him with Saphira, the Princess of Navarre, but he has refused it on the grounds that he is in love with Fidamira, a lady of the court and supposed daughter to Bonoso. Refused by Fidamira and unaware that his friend Agenor is also in love with Fidamira, he departs for the Shepherd's Paradise, a society of voluntary chastity to which the truly unfortunate can be admitted at the yearly election of the Queen. Adopting the name and disguise of Moramante, he arrives at the Shepherd's Paradise and tells the story of his thwarted love for Fidamira, without mentioning names that would identify him. He falls in love with Bellesa, the newly elected Queen. At the end of the play, he is revealed as Prince of Castile and reconciled with his father, and it is revealed that he is actually in love with Saphira, Princess of Navarre, the young woman he was supposed to marry all along and who has been disguised as Fidamira.
Bellesa is the disguise adopted by Saphira, Princess of Navarre, when she runs away from home and joins the Shepherd's Paradise. She is elected Queen for her beauty and is loved by Martiro, Moramante (the disguised Basilino), and Genorio (the disguised Agenor). She falls in love with Moramante, rules as Queen, and at the end of her year resigns to leave the Shepherds' Paradise and engineers the election of Gemella, who is really Fidamira, disguised as a Moor. She is revealed to be Saphira and is betrothed to Basilino.
Bonoso is a lord of Castile. He is supposed to be Fidamira's father, but in reality he has saved her from the siege of Pamplona and disguised her true identity, which is Miranda, Princess of Navarre.
Camena is one of the ladies of the Shepherd's Paradise. She is in love with Melidoro, and her function is to argue for feminine independence and to serve as a foil of sensible, rational love. She marries Melidoro at the conclusion of the play.
DAUPHIN OF FRANCE
A "ghost character." The Dauphin of France is mentioned in the story about the founding of the Shepherd's Paradise. One of two gentlemen in love with Sabina, the daughter of a former King of Castile, he attacked and took the lands of the Prince of Navarre, Sabina's other suitor. Sabina promised never to marry Navarre if the Dauphin restored his lands, but the Dauphin was foiled when Sabina vowed eternal chastity and founded the Shepherd's Paradise instead. These events have occurred long in the past and the Dauphin is dead, and therefore does not appear in the play.
Seen and not heard, she appears in a scene with Bellesa in which she echoes Bellesa's words.
Fidamira is the supposed daughter of Bonoso, a lord of Castile. She is in love with Agenor, who loves her in return, but is also loved by Basilino, the Prince. She refuses Basilino out of love for Agenor. To her horror, the King of Castile, Basilino's father, falls in love with her too, and in order to avoid shame she runs away to the Shepherd's Paradise, disguising herself as Gemella, a Moor. In this disguise she tells her story, omitting names that would identify her, and is admitted to the society. She learns that Agenor has fallen in love with Bellesa. Her death is falsely reported, and she appears to Agenor as the ghost of herself to see how he responds. Finally, she is, as Gemella, elected as Queen of the Shepherd's Paradise, and removes her disguise to reveal herself as Fidamira. It is further revealed that she is, in reality, Miranda, the Princess of Navarre, saved by Bonoso from the siege of Pamplona. She is therefore the sister of Pallante and Saphira, and since Agenor is revealed to be her brother Pallante, she cannot marry him. She therefore ascends the throne of the Shepherd's Paradise and takes a vow of perpetual chastity.
Moorish disguise adopted by Fidamira when she goes to the Shepherd's Paradise.
Disguise adopted by Agenor when he goes to the Shepherd's Paradise.
GHOST of FIDAMIRA
Another disguise adopted by Fidamira, this time as the ghost of herself. Her death is falsely reported, and she appears to Agenor as the ghost of herself to see how he responds.
KING OF CASTILE
Basilino's father. Initially opposed to his son's match with Fidamira, he agrees to it, only to fall in love with her himself. He blames himself for having driven both his son and Fidamira away by his own bad behavior and is quite relieved when at the end of the play they are alive and well. He agrees to the marriage of his son to Saphira, the match he desired in the first place.
KING OF NAVARRE
A "ghost character." Father to Miranda, Pallante, and Saphira, he sends Romero to find the latter, but does not appear in the action of the play.
Martiro is the son of Romero, a lord of Navarre. He is a member of the Shepherd's Paradise and is in love with Bellesa. His name, which suggests the word "martyr," also hints at his function in the play. He represents the most extreme extent of Platonic love: love is all suffering with no fulfillment, and is not compatible with consummation or marriage.
Melidoro is a member of the Shepherd's Paradise and is in love with Camena. His name, which is evocative of the words "honey" and "gold," also suggest his function in the play. He, with Camena, represents the golden mean in love, and he argues, successfully, for marriage as the fulfillment of love and for mutuality in marriage.
Fidamira's true identity; Princess of Navarre and sister to Pallante and Saphira.
Disguise adopted by Basilino when he goes to the Shepherd's Paradise.
A lord and courtier of Castile.
Agenor's true identity; prince of Navarre and brother to Miranda (Fidamira) and Saphira (Bellesa).
Former queen of the Shepherd's Paradise. She is what passes for the villain of the piece. She schemes to replace Bellesa as queen, and also to attain Moramante's (Basilino's) affections.
Disguise adopted by Agenor when he leaves the Shepherd's Paradise.
PRINCE OF NAVARRE
A "ghost character." One of the rivals for Sabina the founder's affections and, in turn, the object of her love. After her commitment to the Shepherd's Paradise, he returned in disguise and lived there for the rest of his life. He is buried in a tomb with Sabina, which is honored in a ceremony in the action of the play, but for obvious reasons, he does not appear as an actor in the play.
Lord of Navarre and father of Martiro. Romero had been entrusted with the government of Pamplona and the care of two of the children of the King of Navarre. He arrives at the Shepherd's Paradise in order to find Saphira, but recognizes, by means of a jewel on their arms, the long-lost Miranda and Pallante.
A "ghost character." Princess of Castile and founder of the Shepherd's Paradise. She was courted by both the Dauphin of France and the Prince of Navarre, whom she loved in return. In order to induce the Dauphin to return Navarre's lands, she promised never to marry him, and subsequently asked her father's permission to found the Shepherd's Paradise, an aristocratic kingdom within a kingdom, composed of members who take a vow of chastity and are ruled by a queen. Her tomb is honored during the course of the play.
A "ghost character." A former King of Castile. He agreed to allow his lovelorn daughter found the Shepherd's Paradise, an aristocratic kingdom within a kingdom, composed of members who take a vow of chastity and are ruled by a queen. He does not appear in the play.
A lord and courtier of Castile.
The high priest of the Shepherd's Paradise, he recounts the history of the place to Basilino and Agenor.