Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay Characters

Robert Greene

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Edward, the pleasure-loving prince of Wales. Delighted by the charms of the milkmaid, Margaret, he sends his friend Lacy to woo her. He is filled with jealousy when he learns that the courtier has won her for himself, but he quickly overcomes his anger and has their marriage solemnized with his own.


Lacy, the earl of Lincoln, a gracious young courtier who disguises himself as a farmer to visit Margaret. He feels no disloyalty in winning her love for himself, because he wishes to marry her and he knows that Edward’s attentions would be fleeting.


Margaret, the fair maid of Fressingfield, whose youth and charm win the love of both the prince and Lacy. She is notable chiefly as one of the first romantic heroines in English drama.

King Henry III

King Henry III, Edward’s father, who follows the prince to Oxford with his court.

Ralph Simnell

Ralph Simnell, the king’s rotund fool, Edward’s companion. He revels in his opportunity to masquerade as the prince in Oxford.

Friar Bacon

Friar Bacon, the wise necromancer of Brasenose College, the only man capable of defeating Vandermast in a battle of wits. He breaks his magic mirror and renounces his studies when he sees the tragedies brought about by his skills.


Miles, his servant, a poor scholar. Notoriously stupid, he lets the friar sleep through his one chance to master his art, when the Brazen Head speaks. For his negligence, he is carried off to Hell on a devil’s back, bragging about his mount.

Friar Bungay

Friar Bungay, another necromancer, inferior to Bacon, who magically prevents him from marrying Margaret and Lacy.

Jaques Vandermast

Jaques Vandermast, a learned doctor, brought by the emperor of Germany to dispute with Oxford’s wisest men.

Elinor of Castile

Elinor of Castile, the attractive young princess who is betrothed to Edward.


Burden, a spokesman for a group of learned doctors who visit Friar Bacon at Oxford to inquire about his proposed Brazen Head.