Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Endymion (ehn-DIHM-ee-on), who is hopelessly in love with the goddess Cynthia. To keep his true love secret, he pretends to be in love with Tellus. After being put into an enchanted sleep at the instigation of his jealous deceived sweetheart, he is awakened by Cynthia. He vows to spend his life in platonic devotion to her.
Cynthia, the goddess of the moon. Chastely above mortal passion, she is moved to pity by Endymion’s enchanted sleep, awakens him, and accepts his platonic worship. She has been interpreted as an idealized portrait of Queen Elizabeth I.
Tellus (TEH-luhs), the goddess of the earth. Loving Endymion, she is angered at what she considers his treachery to her. Imprisoned by Cynthia, she learns to love her jailer, Corsites, and releases Endymion to his moon-worship. She has been interpreted as a portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Eumenides (ew-MEH-nih-deez), Endymion’s faithful friend and confidant. He is able to learn the secret of Endymion’s enchantment because he is a faithful lover. Unselfishly, he asks for the secret to save his friend instead of for his own success in love.
Semele (SEH-meh-LEE), a witty,...
(The entire section is 397 words.)
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