Gorboduc (gohr-BOH-duhk), a king of ancient Britain. After ruling his land wisely for many years, he disregards the advice of his sage counselors, divides the realm between his two sons, and thus brings tragedy on his family and his country. He recognizes the folly of his decision too late, when he learns of the unnatural deaths of his sons. Filled with remorse, he learns that as a human being, he must grieve; the patience prescribed by his advisers is an attribute of gods alone. He is finally murdered by his people, who have fallen into anarchy as a result of the overturning of the natural order of succession and government.
Videna (vee-DAY-na), his queen. She is partial to her older son and disapproves from the beginning the king’s resolution to deprive Ferrex of half his rightful inheritance, for she foresees in Porrex the envy and pride that later erupt in his brother’s murder. Horrified by Ferrex’s death, she curses and disowns her younger child, then wreaks her unnatural revenge on him.
Ferrex (FEHR-ehks), Gorboduc’s older son, his mother’s favorite. Although he is less malleable than Porrex, he listens to the counselors who encourage him to build an army as protection against the jealous ambition of his brother, thus provoking Porrex’s attack.
Porrex (POHR-ehks), Ferrex’s brother. Easily convinced by flatterers that Ferrex intends to rob him of his realm, he is enraged...
(The entire section is 674 words.)