Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Rudolf Rassendyll

Rudolf Rassendyll, a red-bearded young English gentleman of leisure who prides himself on his red hair and large straight nose, which are reminders of an old scandal involving the wife of a Rassendyll ancestor and a visiting Ruritanian prince of the Elphberg family. To save the Ruritanian crown from Black Michael, Rassendyll impersonates Rudolf and is crowned king. He falls in love with Flavia, manages several narrow escapes from Michael and his men, rescues Rudolf, and restores the throne of Ruritania to its rightful king.

Lady Rose Burlesdon

Lady Rose Burlesdon, his sister-in-law, a pretty, accomplished, and wealthy woman.


Rudolf, king of Ruritania, little known to his subjects because of his frequent and extended absences from his country. He looks like an identical twin of Rassendyll except that he has shaved off his beard, his face is a little fleshier, and his mouth less firm. He is a heavy drinker and is both drunk and drugged the day of the coronation. Imprisoned by Michael, he is freed when Michael’s lodge is attacked, and he assumes his position as monarch.


Michael, duke of Strelsau, King Rudolf’s villainous half brother, called Black Michael, who wishes to be king of Ruritania and will stoop to any deed to achieve his aim. He is killed by the treacherous Rupert.

Antoinette de Mauban

Antoinette de Mauban, a rich, handsome, ambitious widow in love with Michael.

Princess Flavia

Princess Flavia, a pale, lovely, red-haired girl betrothed to Rudolf. Though she loves Rassendyll, she loyally becomes Rudolf’s wife and queen.

Fritz von Tarlenheim

Fritz von Tarlenheim, a loyal subject of Rudolf who helps to carry out Rassendyll’s impersonation and later saves his life.

Colonel Sapt

Colonel Sapt, another loyal subject, who first suggests that Rassendyll shave off his beard and double for Rudolf during the coronation to prevent Michael from seizing the throne.


Josef, a servant in Michael’s hunting lodge. He is slain while guarding the drunken Rudolf.

Rupert Hentzau

Rupert Hentzau, Michael’s handsome young aide, who kills him in a fight over Antoinette. In a deadly encounter with Rupert later, Rassendyll is saved by Fritz.


Detchard, another of Michael’s henchmen. After attacking the king, he is slain by Rassendyll.