Captain Jack Absolute
Captain Jack Absolute (Ensign Beverley), a young aristocrat who poses as a penniless ensign to win the love of Lydia Languish. After many problems—among them relatives who oppose his marriage, rivals who challenge him to duels, and misunderstandings with his fiancée—Jack wins fair Lydia.
Lydia Languish, Jack Absolute’s beloved, a girl whose head is so stuffed with the fantastic adventures of popular fictional people that she cannot bear to marry anyone in her own class. She spurns Jack Absolute when she learns that he is not the penniless Ensign Beverley, but she is greatly impressed when she learns that he is to fight a duel because of her, and he wins her hand.
Sir Anthony Absolute
Sir Anthony Absolute, Jack’s strong-willed father, who insists that Jack marry the woman Sir Anthony selects. Jack refuses to obey his father’s edict until he learns that Sir Anthony has chosen Lydia to be his son’s wife.
Mrs. Malaprop, Lydia’s aunt, whose eccentric treatment of the English language spawned the word “malapropism.” She opposes Lydia’s intention to marry Jack, but she drops her objections at last to bask in the high spirits of those whose problems have found happy solutions.
Bob Acres, an affable country squire who challenges Ensign Beverley to a duel. When he learns that Beverley and his friend Jack are the same person, the timid squire is greatly relieved that no duel will be necessary.
Sir Lucius O’Trigger
Sir Lucius O’Trigger, a brash Irishman who is hoodwinked into believing that he is corresponding with Lydia when, actually, Mrs. Malaprop and he are exchanging letters. He challenges Jack to a duel but withdraws when he learns that Lydia never has been interested in him.
Faulkland, Jack’s friend, who is in love with Julia Melville, Lydia’s cousin. Faulkland’s avocation is worrying about the welfare of his suit for Julia, thus creating obstacles where there are none. Finally, however, he banishes care and generously accepts Julia’s love.
Julia Melville, Lydia’s cousin, who marries Faulkland.