THE DEVIL'S LAW CASE, or
WHEN WOMEN GO TO LAW
THE DEVIL IS FULL OF BUSINESS
(1610 recently urged)
a synoptic, alphabetical character list
A nun pregant with Romelio's child. In the end, she reluctantly marries
Romelio, hoping that others will learn from her example not to take
religious vows lightly. Along with Leonora and Jolenta, she promises to
build a monastery.
An honest lawyer. After Crispiano becomes involved in the legal proceedings
involving Romelio, Ariosto replaces him as judge.
An servant sent by Romelio to release and return with his mother and the
A Capuchin monk who mistakenly brings news that Contarino and Ercole have
killed one another. Later, he also reveals that Contarino is, in fact,
A great lord and beloved of Jolenta. When Contarino learns that Jolenta has
been compelled to marry Ercole, he challenges Ercole to a duel, wounding
him and suffering serious wounds himself. On the brink of dying, he is,
incredibly, cured when Romelio stabs him. On recovery, he disguises himself
to learn the truth about Jolenta's rumored marriage to Ercole. He serves
as Ercole's second during preparations for a duel with Romelio. Eventually,
he is revealed to be still alive and is embraced by Ercole.
An unscrupulous lawyer. He provides long-winded denunciations of Romelio in
A Spanish lawyer posing as a merchant, partly to spy on his son, Julio, but
mainly to spy on Romelio for the King of Spain. He also delivers bad news
to Romelio regarding his trading abroad. Later, at Romelio's hearing, he
poses as a judge and disproves Leonora's claim that Romelio is
A suitor to Jolenta. He accepts Contarino's challenge to fight and is
wounded while inflicting serious wounds on Contarino. The duel awakes a
profound respect in him for Contarino, and surviving his wounds, Ercole
lets people believe he is dead so that Contarino, should he survive, may be
married to Jolenta. Hearing that Contarino is dead and that Jolenta is
pregnant with his (that is, Ercole's) child, Ercole concludes that Jolenta
must be pregnant with Contarino's child. He nevertheless pretends that it
is his in order to protect her reputation. He reveals himself to everyone
to be alive in court, and accuses Romelio of murdering Contarino. He agrees
to settle the dispute by a duel, which is prevented at the last moment by
the revelation that Contarino is still alive.
A herald at the duel between Ercole and Romelio.
Sister of Romelio. Jolenta desires to marry Contarino and is horrified at
being forced to marry Ercole instead. Hearing that both men have died from
wounds suffered during a duel, she is distraught, but believing Romelio's
slanders about Contarino, she agrees to a plot to get Ercole's fortune.
When the plots have dissolved, she plans to flee to Rome with Angiolella,
but returns, finally agreeing, along with Angiolella and Leonora, to build
Son of Crispiano.
The mother of Romelio and Jolenta. Hearing that that Contarino has killed
Ercole she works to heal him, ostensibly so that he may be tried for the
killing. Later, she reveals that she is in love with him and is distraught
when she hears that Romelio has killed him. She then brings a suit against
him, and announces to the court that Romelio is a bastard fathered by
Crispiano while her husband was abroad, a claim that Crispiano himself
disproves. Ashamed, she promises to retreat to a monastery, but in the end,
along with Jolenta and Angiolella, promises to build one instead.
An official at the duel between Ercole and Romelio.
An officer in the court.
A trusted friend of Romelio.
A legal officer.
A wealthy merchant. When Romelio learns that his ships have been lost, he
casts about for means of recovery. Disguising himself as a Jew, he
convinces Contarino's surgeons that he is a physician and will include them
in a plot to alter Contarino's will. Gaining access to Contarino, he stabs
him, but rather than killing him, unwittingly lances the very infection
that threatened Contarino's life, allowing Contarino to recover. Meanwhile,
thinking Contarino dead, he hatches a plan that would see a bastard child
of his substituted for that of Jolenta and Ercole so that his family may
inherit Ercole's fortune. To gain Jolenta's consent, Romelio invents a
story that Contarino and their mother Leonora had planned to enjoy an
affair after his marriage to Jolenta. Soon after, he is called into court
and accused by his mother of being a bastard, a charge that is proven
false. He is then charged by Ercole with the murder of Contarino, a charge
that is to be decided by a duel with Ercole. Before the duel, Romelio
begins to have second thoughts about his deeds and on learning that
Contarino is still alive, gladly vows to act justly in his dealings and to
marry the woman he has impregnated.
A law clerk.
A servant to Julio.
SURGEON, FIRST and SECOND
Two surgeons attending Contarino. When they discover that Romelio has
attempted to murder Contarino, they accept money to keep silent, but look
forward to extorting more from him in due course. They are shocked to learn
that Romelio's incision has penetrated the site of the previous wound,
allowing the infection to drain away. Redoubling their efforts, they
restore Contarino, keep his recovery secret, and allow Romelio to think
they have departed for the West Indies. Then, the first surgeon reveals to
Winifred that Contarino still lives. For their part in the deceptions, the
surgeons are ordered to work free of charge for a year.
A laundry woman in the service of Romelio's family. She attempts to give
evidence that would prove that Romelio is a bastard, but her story is shown
to be implausible in several ways. On the urging of a surgeon, she reveals
to the Capuchin that Contarino is not dead.