Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Ellen Douglas, who, with her rebel father, hides from the king near Loch Katrine in the Highlands. Befriended by James Fitz-James, a powerful nobleman, she is instrumental in bringing the rebel clans and the king’s forces together. In the end, her marriage to Malcolm Graeme is blessed by the monarch.
James of Douglas
James of Douglas, Ellen’s father, who once was a powerful nobleman but who now is in rebellion against the king. Finally, because he can no longer agree with one of his powerful leaders, he gives himself up to the royal court. He finally is restored to favor.
Roderick Dhu, a rebel Highland chief who befriends Ellen and her father but whose ruthless military tactics Ellen abhors. Dhu, in the guise of a guard, fights a duel with James Fitz-James and is overcome. The rebel and loyal forces do not fight, but Dhu, in prison, dies thinking his clans fought a glorious battle.
James Fitz-James, a nobleman, friendly to Ellen, who at the poem’s end is discovered to be the king.
Allan-Bane, a minstrel in the service of James of Douglas who is faithful to that nobleman even while he hides with his forces in the Highlands. The minstrel is also a prophet and seer of sorts, and he knows that matters between the clans and the king will end well. It is Allan-Bane who, as a kindly gesture, gives the dying Roderick Dhu the impression that the clans fought bravely against the king.
Malcolm Graeme, a young rebel nobleman who was once the object of an attack by Dhu’s forces after Ellen had refused Dhu’s suit because she and Malcolm were in love. Finally, with the king’s blessing, he marries Ellen.