Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

The king of Rhodes

The king of Rhodes, who is to all appearances a just, if undistinguished, ruler. He is, in fact, a man who does not scruple to use those around him ruthlessly for his own ends. He brings bloody death upon himself by his dishonoring of Evadne and by his despicable treatment of Amintor, a courtier.


Evadne (eh-VAD-nee), a noblewoman, mistress to the king, who arranges her marriage to Amintor. She shows herself almost completely self-centered in the opening scenes, in which she coldly reveals her duplicity to her husband and tells him that she is simply using him to conceal her relationship with the king. The force with which she vows to be his wife in name only suggests the strength of character that makes her a tragic figure. Confronted by her brother with the dishonor she has brought upon herself, her husband, and her family, she recoils in horror from the hell in which she has placed herself, begs forgiveness of Amintor, and resolves to “redeem one minute of my age or, like another Niobe . . . weep till I am water.” She finds this redemption in tying the king to his bed and stabbing him to death as she accuses him of villainy. When she returns to her husband, she feels herself purged, free at last to offer herself as his wife. Death is the only recourse left to her when Amintor, horrified by the slaying of an anointed king, repulses her.


Amintor (eh-MIHN-tohr), Evadne’s ill-used husband. He is, from the moment of his marriage,...

(The entire section is 660 words.)

The Maid's Tragedy Bibliography

(Great Characters in Literature)

Appleton, William W. Beaumont and Fletcher: A Critical Study. Winchester, Mass.: Allen & Unwin, 1956. A short examination of the collaboration, with discussion of this play in the context of the canon. Also some thoughts on the influence of the playwrights on Restoration drama.

Bliss, Lee. Francis Beaumont. Boston: Twayne, 1987. Part of a series of short, sensible discussions of authors. Part of the problem of these two authors lies in the difficulty of distinguishing their respective contributions. Also discusses their influences.

Bradbrook, M. C. Themes and Conventions in Elizabethan Tragedy. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1935. A major text in understanding the peculiar dependence of drama in the Elizabethan and Jacobean period on repeating certain themes, conventions, and motifs.

Ellis-Fermon, Una. The Jacobean Drama: An Interpretation. New York: Vintage Books, 1964. Another seminal text with an overall view of the Jacobean drama. Chapter 2 deals with Beaumont and Fletcher, with some discussion of their use of romance and their approach to character and plot.

Fletcher, Ian. Beaumont and Fletcher. London: Longmans, Green, 1967. A very short work, but very sensible as a starting point for further study, touching on all the problems involved in understanding the collaborations.

Gayley, Charles Miles. Beaumont: The Dramatist. New York: Russell & Russell, 1969. First half is the standard critical biography. Second half deals with specific critical questions, including versification, diction, and critical approaches.