James Shirley


1637 (Ogilby's Men)
licensed 23 April 1638 for the Queen's Men

a synoptic, alphabetical character list


Alexio is one of Montalto's cohorts and a court attendant. He works with Aloisio and Guido in carrying out Montalto's scurrilous plots, and he reaps the reward of banishment at the play's end.


Aloisio is one of Montalto's cohorts and a court attendant. He works with Alexio and Guido in carrying out Montalto's scurrilous plots, and he reaps the reward of banishment at the play's end.


A courtier and friend of Riviero. Andrugio deplores the parasitism of Montalto and companions. He is aware that the banished Riviero has returned in the guise of Philoberto, secretary to the duke, and he facilitates a reunion of Riviero son Octavio.


Bombo is Domitilla's illiterate secretary. He is retained mainly because he makes the ladies laugh; the lengths to which he will go to avoid being brought into the presence of the duke are indeed laughable. By the end of the play, Bombo has returned to the country, afraid of being made a court favorite.


A "ghost character." She was the wife of the King of Naples and sister to the Duke of Florence.


Domitilla is the fifteen-year-old daughter of Simphorosa. Praised for her beauty, and far more fond of simplicity than of courtly niceties, Domitilla is certain that the husband promised her by the king is to be the king himself. Meanwhile, Montalto urges Domitilla's beauty to the Duke of Florence, who proposes to Domitilla despite his previous courtship of Theodosia. Domitilla refuses the duke's proposal, and when the king chooses to wed her to Octavio, she realizes she does indeed love Octavio well.


The Duke of Florence is suitor to Theodosia, sister of the King of Naples. Thanks to the lies and twisted truths of Montalto, however, the duke becomes suspicious of Theodosia's love and faithfulness. At the same time, the duke becomes fascinated with Domitilla, giving her diamonds and eventually proposing marriage. That proposal refused, the duke finally learns of how all have been manipulated by Montalto; he no longer believes that Theodosia contracted with Montalto.


Guido is one of Montalto's cohorts and a court attendant. He informs Simphorosa and her daughter Domitilla that the king plans to dine at their country home after hunting. Guido also works with Alexio and Aloisio in carrying out Montalto's plots. He is banished at the play's end.


Iacomo serves Simphorosa. He and Pietro bring food to Bombo, who hides because he does not want to be brought before the king.


The play's name refers to the King of Naples, brother to Theodosia and widower of the Duke of Florence's sister. The king decides to reward his favorite Montalto by wedding him to Domitilla. Montalto, of course, has other ideas, desiring Theodosia for himself and therefore casting suspicion upon her fidelity in hopes that the duke who courts her will abandon his courtship offer. At last suspicious of Montalto, the king tricks Montalto into revealing his various treacheries and banishes him, along with Guido, Aloisio, and Alexio.


The First and Second Ladies attends Theodosia and the First Lady wonders when Octavio will marry.


A favorite of the King of Naples. Montalto lusts after Theodosia and so plots to cast suspicion upon her and thereby dissuade her suitor, the Duke of Florence. Montalto's double-edged plot involves both disparaging Theodosia's chastity and urging the duke to woo Domitilla instead of Theodosia. Montalto's schemes catch up with him; he barely escapes a death sentence for the murder of Riviero/Philoberto when Riviero is found still alive. Montalto is banished at the play's end.


Octavio is a courtier in Naples and son of the banished Riviero. Avenging his father is important to Octavio, and he is delighted to discover that the king's secretary Philoberto is actually Riviero in disguise. When Montalto's double-dealing and conniving are finally revealed, Octavio finds Riviero welcomed home and Domitilla promised as bride.


Philoberto is the name Riviero uses when he returns to the court in disguise.


Pietro is Simphorosa's servant. With Iacomo, he brings meat and drink to Bombo, Domitilla's illiterate secretary who hides to avoid being brought before the king.


Banished from Naples, Riviero returns disguised as Philoberto, serving as secretary to the king. Originally introduced to Octavio as a long-time friend of Octavio's father, Riviero is soon truly known to his son and works to counteract Montalto's influence in the Neapolitan court. At the play's end, Riviero is welcomed home by his king, and Montalto is out of favor and banished.


The widow Simphorosa is the mother of Domitilla. Fearful of the influence that court life might have upon her daughter, Simphorosa has secluded herself and Domitilla in the country. When she and Domitilla are summoned to the court, some of Simphorosa's fears are recognized as she finds herself warning Domitilla not to dream of marrying the king.


As sister to the King of Naples. Having rebuffed the advances of Montalto, Theodosia is courted by the Duke of Florence. She is cruelly maligned by her former suitor, accused of unchastity and dishonesty. She also faces competition from Domitilla for the duke's affection. When Montalto's sins are revealed, Theodosia's name is cleared and her relationship with the duke re-established.