Every Man out of His Humour Characters

Ben Jonson

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Macilente, a malcontent. Morbidly envious of his fellows, he rages at the flourishing folly of the times and plays malicious tricks on his associates. When they have all been discomfited, he is cured of his envy.

Carlo Buffone

Carlo Buffone, a foulmouthed jester. His indiscriminate verbal assaults lead to his having his mouth sealed by hot sealing wax in his beard.


Deliro, a wealthy, doting husband. He is finally driven out of his uxoriousness by suspicion that his wife is unfaithful.


Fallace, Deliro’s wife and Sordido’s daughter. Enamored of Fastidious Brisk, she behaves so foolishly that she loses her husband’s love.


Sordido, a miserly farmer. He consults the almanac, hoards grain, and hopes for bad weather. A good harvest by his neighbors causes him to attempt suicide.


Sogliardo, Sordido’s social-climbing brother. He pays Carlo to teach him to be a gentleman, but the lessons are unsuccessful.


Fungoso, Sordido’s foolish son. He tries in vain to keep up with Fastidious Brisk’s fashionableness.

Fastidious Brisk

Fastidious Brisk, an affected courtier. He changes the style of his clothes so rapidly that an imitator is always at least an hour out of fashion. He ends up in a debtors’ prison.


Puntarvolo, an old-fashioned knight. He acts romantic scenes with his wife and wagers a sum at five to one odds that he, his wife, and his dog will return safely from a Continental tour. He loses when Macilente poisons his dog. He angrily seals Carlo’s lips to silence his taunts.


Shift, a cheap rascal who pretends to be a criminal. He is too cowardly for real crime.


Saviolina, an affected court lady, Fastidious’ mistress.