Who is the Duke of Strelsau in The Prisoner of Zenda?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Michael, Duke of Streslau, is the story's antagonist. The younger half-brother of King Rudolf V of Ruritania, he has the king drugged, abducted, and imprisoned in a fortress on the eve of his coronation. If everything goes according to plan, then Michael will take over as king.

Unfortunately for...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Michael, Duke of Streslau, is the story's antagonist. The younger half-brother of King Rudolf V of Ruritania, he has the king drugged, abducted, and imprisoned in a fortress on the eve of his coronation. If everything goes according to plan, then Michael will take over as king.

Unfortunately for the wicked Michael—and fortunately for everyone else—a group of concerned courtiers devise a plan of their own to save the day. They manage to persuade an English tourist, one Rudolph Rassendyll, to impersonate King Rudolf, thus preventing Michael from acceding to the throne. The Englishman is a distant relative of the king and bears a staggering physical resemblance to him. With his romantic streak, taste for adventure, and deep sense of honor and duty, Rudolf is the ideal man to fill the king's shoes and thwart the Duke of Streslau's dastardly plot. At least for the time being.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team