William Rowley

circa 1619–1620?

a synoptic, alphabetical character list


Antonio is a Spanish nobleman. He falls in love with and secretly marries Margaretta, a lowborn woman, against the advice of his confidante Lazarello. Immediately after the marriage, Antonio is sent to the wars. There, he meets the aristocratic Dionyzia and falls in love with her. Tortured by conflicting emotions, Antonio is gradually persuaded by Lazarello to commit bigamy. When Margaretta's brother, Jaques, sees him with Dionyzia, Lazarello persuades Antonio to get rid of Margaretta thus: Lazarello will disguise himself as Antonio, sleep with Margaretta, and then reveal his identity. Antonio will then be able to divorce Margaretta for adultery. The plan goes wrong when Margaretta murders Lazarello in the belief that he is Antonio. Antonio joins Julianus' uprising against King Roderick, but is later wounded to the death by Muly Mumen for criticising the uprising. Margaretta triumphs as she watches him die.


Alonzo is captain of a castle where Spanish soldiers are lodged during the war against the Moors. Alonzo admires Antonio's military prowess, and offers his daughter Dionyzia for marriage, not knowing that Antonio is already married. Alonzo is a supporter of Julianus's rebellion against King Roderick.


A "ghost character." Roderick calls for him at one point, but he does not appear.


A "ghost character." A friar in Saint Austin's Monastery who marries Margaretta and Antonio.


A "ghost character." A Moor reportedly slain in the battle.


Wife of Pedro, and mother of Margaretta. Unlike Pedro, Claveele is delighted by Margaretta's marriage to the aristocratic Antonio. But her husband's fears are confirmed when Antonio later commits bigamy. Claveele and Pedro silently accompany Margaretta when she carries the body of Lazarello to Muly Mumen.


A Devil impersonating Alonzo in the 'show' that Roderick sees within the locked room.


A Devil impersonating Antonio in the 'show' that Roderick sees within the locked room.


A Devil impersonating Jacinta in the 'show' that Roderick sees within the locked room.


A Devil impersonating Julianus in the 'show' that Roderick sees within the locked room.


A Devil impersonating Muly Mumen in the 'show' that Roderick sees within the locked room. Muly Mumen is shown receiving the Devil Roderick's crown.


A Devil impersonating Roderick in the 'show' that Roderick sees within the locked room. The Devil Roderick's crown is taken by the Devil Moor, and he is shown kneeling to his enemies.


The rich and witty daughter of Alonzo. Dionyzia falls in love with Antonio and writes him love letters. Antonio is so smitten that he commits bigamy in order to marry her. When Dionyzia meets Antonio's first wife, Margaretta, over Antonio's corpse, she characteristically makes light of the situation. Margaretta stabs herself and challenges Dionyzia to be amused by it, but Dionyzia remains 'merry' and stabs herself too, since, as she says, she may as well die now as any other time. She dies embracing Antonio alongside Margaretta.


A "ghost character." A Moor who fights to rescue Mahu Mahomet.


Margaretta's Moorish servant. She acts as her confidante and encourages Margaretta's murder of Lazarello.


A "ghost character." A Moor who fights to rescue Mahu Mahomet.


Jacinta is the daughter of the Spanish general, Julianus. Jacinta knows that King Roderick lusts after her, and she tries to tell her father of the danger, but he does not listen. Roderick's agents Lothario and Malena attempt to corrupt her. When Jacinta responds with anger, Roderick rapes her and imprisons her in his castle, leaving Lothario to guard her. Lothario falls asleep, so Jacinta steals his keys and escapes. She travels to her father's military camp, and tells him what has happened. Julianus is infuriated, and recruits his former enemy, Muly Mumen, in a rebellion against Roderick. After the successful rebellion, Muly Mumen demands Jacinta's hand in recompense for his aid. Jacinta rails on him, and Julianus refuses his request. Muly Mumen thus orders Jacinta's tongue to be cut out and Julianus to be blinded. He then tricks the blinded Julianus into stabbing Jacinta to death.


Jaques, the play's clown character, is the brother of Margaretta. Jaques is delighted when Margaretta decides to marry Antonio, since it will make him a 'lord's brother',and he takes to wearing lordly attire. Margaretta sends him to Alonzo's castle, ostensibly to deliver a letter to Antonio, but also to observe his behaviour. Jaques sees Antonio with Dionyzia, and although he promises not to tell, he cannot keep a secret, and Margaretta resolves to murder Antonio. At the end of the play, Jaques laments his sister's actions, which have lost him his newfound gentility. But Jaques' fortunes are restored when Lothario asks him to be his executioner, and Jaques inherits Lothario's possessions.


A Spanish nobleman, and father of Jacinta. King Roderick makes Julianus his general in the wars against the Moors, but does so in order to gain access to Jacinta. Julianus ignores Jacinta's fears about Roderick's intentions. During the wars, the Spanish army captures Mully Mumen, King of the Moors. Julianus is infuriated when Jacinta arrives at the camp and tells him that Roderick has raped her. He leads the army in a rebellion against Roderick, aided by Muly Mumen. But when Julianus denies Muly Mumen's request to marry Jacinta, the Moor orders him to be blinded and then tricks him into stabbing Jacinta to death. The Moor then stabs Julianus to death.


A friend of Antonio's. Lazarello advises Antonio against marrying the lowborn Margaretta, but his advice is ignored. Lazarello goes to the wars with Antonio, and when Antonio falls in love with Dionyzia, encourages him to commit bigamy. Lazarello then encourages Antonio to get a divorce from Margaretta thus: Lazarello will disguise himself as Antonio, sleep with Margaretta, and then reveal his identity. In this way Antonio will be able to divorce her for adultery. The plan goes wrong when Margaretta murders Lazarello, thinking him to be Antonio.

The privado, or confidante, to King Roderick. Lothario, aided by Malena tries to persuade Jacinta to yield to Roderick's lusts, but she resists. After Roderick rapes Jacinta and imprisons her, he leaves Lothario in guard. Lothario falls asleep, and Jacinta escapes. Roderick is furious, and when Julianus' army attacks the castle, Lothario decides to end his life. He hires Jaques to be his executioner.


A "ghost character." The brother of Muly Mumen, he is reported to be fighting in the battle.


A bawd, whom Lothario hires to persuade Jacinta to yield to King Roderick's lusts. Malena's attempt at corrupting Jacinta fails.


Margaretta is an orange-selling wench who marries, with some misgivings, the Lord Antonio. Antonio is then immediately posted to the wars. Margaretta becomes jealous and suspicious. She sends her brother Jaques to spy on him, and, learning of his bigamous marriage to Dionyzia, plans to murder him on his returns. Unfortunately, she mistakenly murders Lazarello instead, who has hidden in her bed disguised as Antonio. Margaretta begs Muly Mumen to execute her for her crime. Seeing Antonio alive, she realises her mistake, but she is pleased to see that Antonio has been wounded to death by Muly Mumen. Angered by Dionyzia's 'merry' response to the events, she stabs herself, and embraces Antonio as she dies.


A Spanish nobleman and warrior who advises King Roderick against breaking into the mysterious locked room. He fights in the wars against the Moors, and joins Julianus in his insurrection against Roderick.


'The Moor' is a term frequently used to refer to Muly Mumen, King of the Moors.


Muly Mumen is the King of the Moors, and leader of the invasion of Spain. In a battle with the Spanish, he is captured, and imprisoned by Julianus. He joins with his former enemy when Julianus decides to attack King Roderick. But when Julianus refuses to give him Jacinta's hand in marriage, he turns against him. He blinds Julianus and cuts out Jacinta's tongue. He orders the death of Antonio for criticizing the rebellion against Roderick, and enjoys watching the deaths of Margaretta and Dionyzia. He tricks Julianus into stabbing Jacinta, and then kills Julianus. Finally, he ascends the Spanish throne.


The father of Margaretta and husband of Claveele. Pedro is concerned when Margaretta decides to marry Antonio. He believes that lords make unfaithful husbands. His fears are proved right when Antonio commits bigamy. Pedro and Claveele silently accompany Margaretta when she carries the body of Lazarello to the Moor.


A Spanish lord loyal to Roderick. He brings Julianus the news of his banishment from the court and supports Roderick when the rebels march on his castle. He follows Roderick in exile to Biscany.


Roderick is the King of Spain during an invasion of African Moors. He lusts after Jacinta, and gains access to her by naming her father Julianus leader in the war against the Moors. When Roderick's agents, Lothario and Malena, fail to persuade Jacinta to yield to him, Roderick rapes her. He imprisons her in his castle, but she escapes. Fearful that Julianus will learn what has happened, Roderick orders that Julianus remain at a distance from the court. He is terrified when he learns that Julianus is leading an army to depose him, and breaks into a mysterious locked room in his castle, which all of his predecessors have left unopened. Inside, Roderick finds Devils impersonating himself and his enemies in a preternaturally prescient dumb show. The Devils show Roderick kneeling to the Moor and losing his crown. As the rebels attack, Roderick flees to exile in Biscany.


A Moorish soldier who reports on the battle to Muly Mumen.