THE FLOATING ISLAND, or
PASSIONS CALMED, or
29 August 1636
a synoptic, alphabetical character list
A ghost character. Afterwit is the brother of Prudentius. After Prudentius returns to the throne he decides Afterwit should rule the Passions.
Amorous is one of the Passions. He revolts against Prudentius when Prudentius installs a rule of chastity and Morphe then refuses Amorous's attentions and also because Prudentius banishes Amorous' daughter Concupiscence from the Island. Amorous tries to seduce Fuga, but is rejected; he then tries to woo Morphe again but she also rejects him. He sees Livebyhope wounded by Audax and Irato. Believing Livebyhope dead, Amorous tends to Morphe, who has fainted. He takes her to Desperato and asks him to make a love potion for Morphe. After he is falsely told by Model that Morphe is dead, Amorous regrets attempting to seduce her. He at first vows revenge on Desperato but is then persuaded to take poison at Desperato's dinner. He asks forgiveness of Prudentius and accepts the latter's decree that he can never marry Morphe.
Audax finds Prudentius' rule very confining. He is one of the three passions who actually enters Prudentius' bedroom to kill him and find the crown that has been left behind. Audax offers Fancie a crown of gold, but she rejects it in favor of Livebyhope's crown of feathers. Audax is insulted by Livebyhope's masque of Morpheus. He tries to seduce Concupiscence, but she demands that he rape Fuga and impregnate her so that Concupiscence will seem saintly by comparison. Audax agrees, but mistakenly attempts to rape the disguised Timerous. Audax and Irato almost fight over who should be General, but Malevolo turns them against Livebyhope instead. They chase and wound Livebyhope. Audax and Irato again argue over who should be General, but Fancie, upset at Livebyhope's apparent death, refuses to allow either to take the position. At Desperato's dinner, Audax and Irato decide to hang themselves together. When Prudentius resumes the crown, Audax and Irato again ask to fight a duel to see who should be General, but Prudentius rejects both their claims.
Ghost characters. Malevolo describes how Prudentius has had Amorous' aunts carted.
Hilario's Boy enters to announce the arrival of Queen Fancie.
COMMONSENSE the JUDGE
A ghost character. Malevolo worries about how he will react to the Passions' plan to revolt against Prudentius. Amorous claims that he will sensibly accept the will of the more powerful majority and not stand with Prudentius.
Concupiscence is the daughter of Amorous and begins the play banished from The Floating Island by Prudentius. After Fancie becomes queen, Concupiscence is her main lady-in-waiting. She aggressively pursues Timerous, offending Fuga by her unfeminine behavior. After her coronation, Fancie becomes enamored of the Persian style and suggests that Concupiscence marry her brother, Hilario, as this is a Persian tradition. Both reject the idea. Fancie desires more ladies around her and asks about Concupiscence's children, of which there are many. None are suitable, and she suggests turning Timerous into a woman. Concupiscence then wishes to marry Melancholio and pretends to have reformed, taking on the name Temperance. In order to seem more saintly, she asks Audax to rape and impregnate Fuga. After the marriage, however, she reveals her true self and makes Melancholio miserable. Despite his desire for a divorce, Prudentius rules the marriage remain intact.
Only mentioned. The son of King Belus of Egypt and the father of fifty daughters. Memor describes Concupiscence as having more daughters than Danaus.
Desperato is one of the three Passions to actually enter Prudentius' bedroom to kill him,and finds the crown where it has been left. At the coronation of Fancie, Desperato offers a Turkish turban, which Fancie rejects. Angered, Desperato decides to become a physician and enjoy the suffering of others. After Morphe faints, Amorous brings her to Desperato and asks him to treat her with a love potion so that she will return his affections. Malevolo, on the other hand, asks Desperato to poison her, but both plans are foiled when Intellectus Agens rescues her. Desperato holds a dinner party for all the Passions, with knives, ropes and poison instead of food. All the characters are prepared to kill themselves, but are stopped by the return of Intellectus Agens and Prudentius. Desperato asks forgiveness of Prudentius, but is directed to confess to a Priest instead.
After Prudentius leaves The Floating Island, the Passions crown Fancie queen. They each offer her a different crown. Desperato offers a Turkish turban, Audax offers a crown of gold, Ovidian offers a laurel crown, but she takes the feather crown offered by Livebyhope and makes him her chief counselor, angering the other Passions. She asks Concupiscence for more ladies-in-waiting, sparking the decision to dress Timerous up as a woman. Enamored of all things Persian, she tries to convince Hilario to marry his sister Concupiscence, but both refuse. Fancie is almost tricked by Audax and Irato into a limitation of her powers, based on a decision made by Henry III, but Livebyhope stops them. At Desperato's dinner, she decides to die by poison because she believes that Livebyhope has been killed. When Intellectus Agens reveals that Livebyhope is alive, she returns the crown to Prudentius, saying she can be queen without it.
Fuga is the daughter of Malevolo and waits on Fancie. She is wooed by Timerous but does not return his affections. When Audax, egged on by Concupiscence, tries to rape the disguised Timerous, everyone believes that Fuga has been raped. She is mocked by Concupiscence and Desperato, and Amorous attempts to seduce her, saying that she should now agree to relations with any man. Fuga tells Malevolo what happened and he vows revenge against Audax. At Desperato's dinner, Fuga promises to stab herself, saying the knife will know she is a virgin. After Prudentius returns, he announces that she and Timerous will not marry.
The Groom tells everyone to leave so that Prudentius can sleep.
Only mentioned. Henry III was a medieval king of England who was forced to create a parliament in order to receive funds from the nobles. Malevolo attempts to force Fancie to agree to similar limitations on her power, but Livebyhope stops the plot. When Prudentius returns to the throne, he asks Memor how the rebellion against Henry III was settled and, when Memor describes how Henry III set the capital on fire, asks if he should not do the same. This causes Memor and Malevolo to repent their actions.
Hilario is the son of Amorous and the only Passion that seems unaffected by Prudentius' rule. He is perfectly happy, however, to serve Fancie, resisting only her suggestion that he marry Concupiscence. He resists not because she is his sister, but because he wants absolutely no limits on his freedom. He serves mainly as a messenger, taking no part in any of the plots, except that he helps Concupiscence marry Melancholio. When everyone else agrees to kill themselves at Desperato's urging, Hilario declares he will sleep instead.
Intellectus Agens is Prudentius' main advisor. He instructs Livebyhope to spy on the Passions as they agree to overthrow Prudentius. Intellectus then tells Prudentius to leave his crown behind, because the Passions will fail miserably to live outside his rule. Intellectus returns after Irato and Audax wound Livebyhope to takes Livebyhope away to safety. He also rescues Morphe from being poisoned by Desperato. When all the Passions have agreed to kill themselves, Intellectus stops them by appearing with Livebyhope and Morphe, telling everyone they are sent for by Prudentius. Intellectus stands with Prudentius when he judges the Passions.
Irato plots with the other Passions to overthrow Prudentius because Prudentius will not let him fight duels. He is one of the three passions who actually enters Prudentius' bedroom to kill him and find the crown that has been left behind. Audax and Irato almost come to blows over who should be General, but Malevolo turns them against Livebyhope instead. They chase and wound Livebyhope. Audax and Irato again argue over who should be General, but Fancie, upset at Livebyhope's apparent death, refuses to allow either to take the position. At Desperato's dinner, Audax and Irato decide to hang themselves together. When Prudentius resumes the crown, Audax and Irato again ask to fight a duel to see who should be General, but Prudentius rejects both their claims.
Livebyhope is not one of the Passions but seems instead a good civil servant. He first serves Prudentius, spying on the Passions when told and reporting their plot to Intellectus Agens. When Prudentius leaves The Floating Island, Livebyhope switches his allegiance to Fancie. He offers her a crown of feathers, the only one she finds acceptable, and she makes him Master of Requests. Livebyhope presents a masque of Morpheus that insults the Passions but pleases Fancie, who gives him monopolies. He is then wounded by Audax and Irato and rescued by Intellectus Agens. When Fancie thinks Livebyhope is dead, she is ready to commit suicide, and Livebyhope declares that her grief has hurt him, but there is no formal suggestion by Prudentius that they should unite. Livebyhope returns to serving Prudentius.
Malevolo is the chief plotter and seems mainly interested in turning the Passions against each other. He agrees with the other Passions to overthrow or kill Prudentius, although he does not actually enter Prudentius' bedroom. At Fancie's coronation, he bears the septre and is appointed chief counselor. With Memor, he seeks for ways to control Fancie but is foiled by Livebyhope and vows revenge. He also vows revenge when his daughter Fuga tells him that Audax tried to rape her. When Irato and Audax want to duel to decide who will be general, Malevolo turns them against Livebyhope, and they wound him much to Malevolo's delight. He is further pleased when the supposed killing of Livebyhope upsets Fancie. Her attack on Irato and Audax also delights Malevolo. However, when everyone hates Malevolo, he finds he does not like it and asks Desperato for poison. He is willing to die but declares that it is because everyone else is committing suicide, too, leaving him with no object for his hatred. When Prudentius returns, Malevolo is one of the first to repent, although it seems likely he is just eager to see everyone else kneel before Prudentius. In the end he offers Prudentius his hate, which he says is more useful than others' love.
MARGARET, COUNTESS of HENNEBERG
Only mentioned. According to legend, Margaret insulted a peasant woman who had twins, saying they must have different fathers. She was punished by God and gave birth to 365 children on Good Friday, 1276. Memor describes Concupiscence as having more children than Margaret.
Melancholio plays a minor part in the rebellion against Prudentius. He agrees to the revolt but does not participate actively. At Fancie's coronation, he brings a painting of her crowned with a gold crown. He later complains to Desperato, who tries to practice medicine on him, but Melancholio rejects him. Concupiscence decides she wants to marry him and pretends to be reformed. This fools Melancholio,. He marries her but is miserable after and seeks for divorce. At Desperato's dinner, he decides to hang himself. After Prudentius returns, he learns that his marriage must stand.
Memor is a lawyer and the court recorder. When Timerous complains about being kicked by Irato, Memor reports the new law, that each Passion may follow his humor, and then says there is actually no law. He conspires with Malevolo to place some limits on Fancie's power, but is stymied by Livebyhope. When Prudentius returns to the throne, Memor reports how Henry III dealt with rebellion and kneels before Prudentius.
Model reports, falsely, to Amorous that Morphe is dead.
Morphe is the mistress of Amorous, but at the beginning of the play she has accepted Prudentius' rule and beliefs and thereby rejects Amorous' attentions. She does not attend on Fancie, and when Amorous tries to woo her she rejects him. She sees Livebyhope wounded by Irato and Audax and faints. Amorous carries her to Desperato and asks him to give her a love potion. Malevolo asks Desperato to poison her. Instead of either fate, she is rescued by Intellectus Agens and word is circulated that she has died. She returns with Intellectus and Livebyhope during Desperato's dinner where the Passions have agreed to commit suicide. In the end, Prudentius decrees that she shall not marry Amorous.
Morpheus appears in a masque put on by Livebyhope. He addresses six dreamers who represent Memor, Malevolo, Irato, Timerous, Hilario and Desperato, telling them how to behave and thereby insults them.
'Musitian' sings at Fancie's coronation and when Amorous is trying to woo Morphe.
Ovidian is a poet who offers Fancie a laurel crown, which she rejects.
The Painter presents a picture commissioned by Melancholio. When Fancie requests that the picture be redone to show her with a feather crown rather than a gold crown, Painter asks if he should mend the picture.
A ghost character. Pride is the eldest daughter of Concupiscence. She is described as currently residing at the Spanish Court.
Prudentius is the ruler of The Floating Island. He enforces strict rules. He has banished Concupiscence and refuses to allow Irato to fight duels. He enters while the Passions are plotting and with his mere presence awes them into obedience. But when he learns they are plotting to overthrow him, he takes Intellectus Agens' advice and leaves the island and his crown. He returns at the end of the play and offers each Passion and Fancie his crown, but all reject it. He then resumes the throne.
Ghost characters. Malevolo describes how Prudentius has had Amorous' sisters whipped.
The name and disguise that Concupiscence uses to attract Melancholio and get him to marry her.
Timerous is convinced by the other Passions to agree to Prudentius' overthrow, although he does not actively engage in it. He is in love with Fuga and brings her a poem, but he is too timid to read it. When Fancie wishes for more ladies-in-waiting, Concupiscence and Hilario decide that Timerous should be dressed in Fuga's clothing and made into a woman. Hilario persuades Timerous to dress up by telling him that both Malevolo and Irato want to duel with him. Once he is in female clothing, he is almost ravished by Audax, who believes him to be Fuga. Timerous tells Fuga what he has suffered for her, but when she rejects him, he declares he will resume male clothing. At Desperato's party, he decides to poison himself after Desperato tells him a sleeping potion will kill him gently. After Prudentius returns, he learns that he may not marry Fuga.
The name given to Timerous when he is in female clothing.