a synoptic, alphabetical character list
A "ghost character." A lawyer and a customer in Mistress Correction's brothel.
Page to the Welsh courtier Nucome.
A "ghost character." A ferryman, identified as the father of one of Master Correction's pupils.
Master John Correction, the schoolmaster, is married to Mistress Correction, a midwife and bawd. Correction leads four of his unruly pupils in their lessons, then agrees to Wages's request to perform the marriages of the four mismatched couples. When Correction's wife decides she wants Wages for her new husband, she claims Correction has several other wives, but Lord Nonsuch refuses to believe her and restores her to Master Correction.
Cupid follows the Prologue to announce that he will be guiding the play's action but will remain invisible as he causes the characters to fall in and out of love with each other in fulfillment of his mother's command to go play on a whirligig. After Lord Troublesome attempts to divorce his wife and marry her cousin Peg, Cupid leads the Lord onstage. After the whirligig scene in which each of the lover's confesses his or her affection and is rejected by a beloved, Cupid enters to assure the audience he will match the couples properly. When Nan, Young Lord Nonsuch, Peg, Nucome, the Troubleomes, Mistress Correction and Wages are, or think they are, married, Cupid leads the four mismatched couples in a masque. He delivers the play's epilogue.
An Inns of Court man and a customer at Mistress Correction's brothel, Exhibition is one of the unwelcome suitors of the chaste Lady Troublesome. He visits her at an inconvenient time, and, after courting her in legalese, becomes involved in a ruse to convince her husband that he and another suitor, Young Nonsuch, disguised as Captain Woodly, are quarrelling, thus sparing the Lady from her husband's jealous suspicions.
A "ghost character." Young Lord Nonsuch disguises himself as Captain Woodly and encounters the courtier Nucome, who asks if Gregorie Pipe is Woodly's commanding officer. Woodly replies he is under the command of Captain Tobacco Pipe.
Full name of the pedant, Master Correction.
Alternative speech prefix for Sir Timothy Troublesome.
The chaste and devoted wife of Sir Timothy Troublesome, the Lady resists the efforts of various suitors, including Nucome, Master Exhibition, and Young Lord Nonsuch (both as himself and disguised as the braggart Captain Woodly and the beggar turned servant Slacke). Frustrated by her husband's suspicions, she considers indulging in an affair, but rejects this notion, choosing instead to accuse her husband as he has accused her, claiming he has had affairs with his laundress's daughter, the household servants, and Lady Troublesome's cousin Peg. Receiving a love letter from Young Lord Nonsuch, Lady Troublesome rejects him and shows the letter to her husband, instigating a plot to catch Young Nonsuch as he attempts to visit the house. When Young Nonsuch enters in disguise, Lady Troublesome's husband sends the two of them off, but the Lady resists Young Nonsuch's importunities, causing him to plot vengeance against her. Young Lord Nonsuch returns to the house as Slacke, a begging soldier who Troublesome hires as a servant. Slacke confesses his love to Lady Troublesome and is again rejected by her. He encourages Troublesome to divorce his wife, and the knight sends Slacke to purchase a divorce. In desperation, Lady Troublesome asks the servant Wages to negotiate a reconciliation with her husband, and he does this by allowing each to overhear the other's conversation, but the reconciliation is short-lived and Troublesome announces he will marry his Lady's cousin Peg. Lady Troublesome is then courted by Young Nonsuch in yet another disguise, Captain Woodly the braggart, and rejects him. When her husband arrives as she is being courted by Exhibition and Captain Woodly, Lady Troublesome convinces the two suitors to stage a fight so her husband will have no further suspicions. Slacke convinces Troublesome to be jealous of Captain Woodly, and Troublesome again sends for a divorce. Lady Troublesome is furious about the divorce, but when she asks Troublesome to reconcile, he flees. In the whirligig scene, the Lady complains about Slacke's devotion to her, causing Nan to confess her love for Slacke. Lady Troublesome helps arrange the mixed-up tokens of the women taking part in the masked marriages, and she winds up re-married to Troublesome.
A "ghost character." Lady Troublesome accuses her husband of sending money to the laundress's daughter as payment for sexual favors; he claims it was an act of charity.
A midwife and a bawd, Mistress Correction is attracted to the witty servant Wages and attempts to free herself to marry him by accusing her husband of bigamy.
The daughter of Alderman Venter, Nan is engaged to Young Lord Nonsuch but is unwilling to marry him because of his promiscuity. She runs away and stays with her friend Peg at the Troublesome's house. She mocks the Welsh courtier Nucomb, engages in several knowing conversations about marriage, and falls in love with the servant Slacke, not realizing this is one of Young Nonsuch's disguises. She agrees to be married wearing a mask, and, through the efforts of Wages and Cupid, is united with Young Nonsuch.
A Welsh courtier much concerned with fashion, Nucome attempts unsuccessfully to court Lady Troublesome. During his first visit to the Lady, Nucome draws on her husband, who has insulted her; weary of her husband's jealousy, Lady Troublesome invites Nucome to be her servant, although she rejects his romantic advances. Nucome endures the mockery of Nan and Peg, who critique his clothes and search him for lice, and he refuses to give alms to the begging soldier Slacke, who is Young Lord Nonsuch in disguise. Nucome's tailor delivers an elaborate doublet which Nucome refuses to pay for; as he is trying on the doublet, Peg's servant enters, but Nucome rejects Peg's efforts to court him because he is attracted to Nan. Nucome, Nan, and Peg's confessions to and rejections of each other are part of the whirligig scene. Nucome takes part in the masked marriages, and inadvertently weds Peg. Also alternately Newcome.
OLD LORD NONSUCH
The elderly father of Young Lord Nonsuch, the old lord arranges a marriage between his son and Nan, the daughter of his friend Alderman Venter. When his son makes an unannounced escape to evade the marriage, Old Lord Nonsuch believes his son is dead and mourns accordingly. At the play's conclusion, he hosts a traditional feast and is happy to hear he is to be honored by the presence of four newly-married couples, one of whom is revealed to be his son and Nan, rightly matched owing to the efforts of Cupid and the witty servant Wages. Old Lord Nonsuch returns Mistress Correction to her husband rather than allowing her to commit bigamy with Wages.
A "ghost character" also identified as the Stone Cutter and Sow Gelder. When Sir Timothy Troublesome, weary of what he wrongly perceives as his wife's infidelity, decides to have himself castrated in order to be certain that any children his wife conceives will not be his, he and his servant Wages visit the Operator.
A "ghost character." A cheesemonger, identified as the father of one of Master Correction's pupils.
The witty cousin of Lady Troublesome, Peg first mocks then falls in love with the Welsh courtier Nucome, who rejects her. Peg masks herself and is mistakenly married to Nucome, a situation they both accept.
Delivers a list of characteristics of several dramatic genres, explains that what follows is a comedy, and notes that the satire is not aimed at anyone in particular.
A "ghost character." A younger brother's daughter and kinswoman of Master Correction's who is boarding and employed at Mistress Correction's brothel.
Four pupils of Master Correction's who recite their Latin lesson and misbehave while Wages asks Master Correction to perform the upcoming weddings.
A "ghost character." A preacher and Mistress Correction's first husband.
A disguise assumed by Young Lord Nonsuch in order to gain access to Lady Troublesome, Slacke is a begging soldier who is hired as a servant by Sir Timothy Troublesome. As Slacke, Nonsuch attempts to convince Troublesome that his Lady is pregnant and that he should divorce her, thus freeing her for Nonsuch himself. When Troublesome decides to leave his Lady and marry her cousin Peg, he sends Slacke to procure the divorce. Slacke confesses his love to Lady Troublesome; when she rejects him, he attempts to make her husband even more jealous by exaggerating the relationship between the Lady and Captain Woodly, another of Young Lord Nonsuch's disguised characters. The Young Lord's fiancée, Nan, who has run away to avoid the marriage, falls in love with Slacke and, disguising herself to marry him, is surprised to find herself united to Young Lord Nonsuch.
A "ghost character" also identified as the Operator and Stone Cutter. When Sir Timothy Troublesome, weary of what he wrongly perceives as his wife's infidelity, decides to have himself castrated in order to be certain that any children his wife conceives will not be his, he and his servant Wages visit the Sow Gelder.
A "ghost character" also identified as the Operator and Sow Gelder. When Sir Timothy Troublesome, weary of what he wrongly perceives as his wife's infidelity, decides to have himself castrated in order to be certain that any children his wife conceives will not be his, he and his servant Wages visit the Stone Cutter.
A "ghost character" who delivers one of the courtier Nucome's lavish doublets and who is not paid for his work.
Full name of the jealous knight.
One of Master Correction's pupils, Tobias is identified as the son of the cheesemonger.
Sir Timothy Troublesome, a jealous knight, abuses his chaste and devoted wife by accusing her of various extramarital affairs. After suspecting then forgiving his wife several times, Troublesome decides to free himself from jealousy by having himself castrated. When his wife shows him a letter from Young Lord Nonsuch, Troublesome plots to catch his rival, but does not recognize the young man through his disguise and sends him off with his wife. After Lady Troublesome rejects Young Lord Nonsuch, he leaves the house and meets Troublesome, who now recognizes him and is convinced again of his wife's infidelity. Troublesome unwittingly hires Young Lord Nonsuch, disguised as the begging soldier Slacke, as a servant. After reconciling with and rejecting his wife several times, Troublesome announces he will divorce her and marry her cousin Peg. His servant Wages attempts to reconcile his mistress and master, but Troublesome persists in his belief that his wife is unfaithful. Led into the whirligig scene by Cupid, Troublesome confesses his love for Peg and is rejected by her. Troublesome and his Lady are revealed to be one of the four masked couples who join Cupid in a dance; they have inadvertently re-married.
An alderman, and the father of Nan whose marriage to Young Lord Nonsuch Venter negotiates with his friend Old Lord Nonsuch. He accompanies Old Lord Nonsuch to the banquet at which there is a masque of four newly married couples, one of whom is revealed to be Nan and Young Lord Nonsuch.
A witty and underpaid servant to Sir Timothy Troublesome, Wages helps reconcile his jealous master and chaste mistress. When Young Lord Nonsuch attempts to court Lady Troublesome, Wages delivers his letter. When Troublesome decides to have himself gelded to help cure his sexual jealousy, Wages accompanies him and later advises his master not to divorce his wife, in part because it will be difficult to find a new one now that Troublesome is castrated. When Young Lord Nonsuch, disguised as Slacke, tells Troublesome that Lady Troublesome is pregnant, Troublesome suspects that Wages is the father of the child. Wages begs his master for his back wages, using them as a negotiating tool when Troublesome asks Wages to help him reconcile with his wife, a task Wages completes by engaging his master and mistress in separate conversations that the other overhears. Mistress Corrections pursues Wages, offering to keep him with money she earns as a bawd, and claiming her husband is a bigamist; the two of them participate in Cupid's final masque as a couple, but Old Lord Nonsuch returns Mistress Correction to her husband.
Alternative spelling of Woodly, the name Young Lord Nonsuch adopts when disguised as a braggart captain; the alternative spelling is used in the text to emphasize the sexual pun-would lie--embedded in the Captain's surname.
Disguise adopted by Young Lord Nonsuch in an effort to gain access to Lady Troublesome. First reported as Master Woodly, then appearing as the swaggering Captain Woodly, he is unsuccessful in his efforts to court the Lady.
A "ghost character." A member of the guard and a customer at Mistress Correction's brothel.
YOUNG LORD NONSUCH
A courtier who has left the court ostensibly to see his elderly father, but actually to pursue the chaste Lady Troublesome, Young Lord Nonsuch is engaged to Nan, daughter of his father's friend Alderman Venter. He writes to Lady Troublesome, who shows the letter to her husband. Young Nonsuch comes to the house in disguise, and Troublesome mistakes him for a servant, sending him off with Lady Troublesome with orders to watch for and kill Young Nonsuch. When the Lady rejects his advances and Young Nonsuch leaves the house, Troublesome recognizes him and is convinced anew of his wife's infidelity. Young Nonsuch adopts a new disguise, Slacke the begging soldier, and the newly gelded Troublesome hires him as a servant. As Slacke, Young Nonsuch confesses his love for Lady Troublesome and is rejected; he vows vengeance against her. Slacke claims Lady Troublesome is pregnant and encourages Troublesome to divorce her; Troublesome twice sends Slacke to purchase a divorce. Young Nonsuch adopts another disguise, the braggart Captain Woodly, and is again rejected by Lady Troublesome; he arrives to court her at the same time as Master Exhibition, and when Troublesome arrives unexpectedly, the Lady persuades the two suitors to stage a fight, sparing her further suspicion. In the whirligig scene, Young Nonsuch, as Slacke, confesses his love to Lady Troublesome, who rejects him yet again; he then meets Nan, who confesses her love for him, and he rejects her. Young Nonsuch takes part in the masked marriages and finds himself wedded to Nan, as their families intended.