Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Bussy d’Ambois

Bussy d’Ambois (bew-SEE dahm-BWAH), an ambitious, unscrupulous commoner. He is brought by Monsieur to court, where he quickly insinuates himself into the king’s favor, seduces the woman his patron desires, and wins the enmity of most of his fellow courtiers through his insolence. His quick tongue saves him more than once from hanging. He disregards the warning of devils that he conjures up, and he dies propped on his sword, shot by Monsieur and the duc du Guise.

Henry III

Henry III, the king of France. He is essentially both just and honorable, but he is too susceptible to Bussy’s flattery.


Monsieur (meh-SYUH), the duc d’Alencon, who so desperately desires his brother’s throne that he is willing to do almost anything except murder to win it.


Maffe (mah-FAY), his servant, concerned more with serving himself than with serving his master.


Tamyra (tah-mee-RAH), the countess of Montsurry. She scorns Monsieur’s advances but arranges, through her friar, secret meetings with Bussy. She betrays her husband with few qualms. When caught, she finally succumbs to torture and writes the letter that takes Bussy to his death. Torn by conflicting loyalties to her husband and her lover, she finally begs Montsurry’s forgiveness and vows to wander alone until her death.


Montsurry (mahn-sew-REE), Tamyra’s devoted husband, who is made almost mad by the knowledge of her infidelity. He, too, is distressed by conflicting emotions of love and honor.

The duc du Guise

The duc du Guise (dewk deh geez), the king’s second brother, Bussy’s sworn enemy.


Elenor (ay-lay-NOHR), his duchess, to whom Bussy first pays court.


Barrisor (bah-ree-ZOHR),


l’Anou (lah-NOO), and


Pyrrhot (pee-ROH), courtiers who, enraged by Bussy’s presumption, challenge him to a duel and die in the ensuing combat.

A friar

A friar, the go-between for Tamyra and Bussy. His ghost warns them of their danger.


Pero (pay-ROH), Tamyra’s maid, who betrays her mistress to Monsieur.