Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 897
Pyrocles (PI-rohk-leez), Prince of Macedon. Journeying with his cousin Musidorus, he fights on the side of justice in many countries before he reaches Arcadia and falls in love with a picture of the Princess Philoclea. He disguises himself as an Amazon, Zelmane, to be near his lady, only to find himself tormented by the passion of both her parents.
Musidorus (mew-sih-DOH-ruhs), his cousin and loyal friend, Prince of Thessalia. He masquerades as Dorus, a shepherd, and pretends to court the homely Mopsa in order to win the hand of the noble Princess Pamela, who is finally persuaded to run away with him.
Basilius (beh-SIH-lih-uhs), the ruler of Arcadia, who takes his Queen and their daughters into the country to prevent the fulfillment of an oracle’s prophecy, which he fears portends disaster for him. He betrays both his age and his dignity in his passion for his daughter’s companion, Zelmane.
Gynecia (jih-NEE-shih-uh), his young wife, who suffers agonies of conscience for the desire and jealousy she feels for Pyrocles, whose disguise she has penetrated. Resenting his attentions to Philoclea, she is freed from her passion only after she has almost killed her husband with a love potion intended for Zelmane.
Pamela, their stately, reserved older daughter, who is wooed and, after much resistance, won by Musidorus.
Philoclea (fih-lohk-LEE-uh), her sweeter, more submissive sister. She responds quickly to Pyrocles’ love, but she lacks the strength with which Pamela meets difficulties.
Amphialus (am-FI-eh-luhs), Basilius’ warrior nephew, who is spurred on by his ambitious mother and by his love for Philoclea to kidnap the princesses and take over the kingdom. Although he deeply regrets the deaths he causes, he cannot restrain his desire for fighting.
Cecropia (seek-ROH-pih-uh), Amphialus’ ruthless mother, who spurs him on his ambitious path to overthrow her hated brother Basilius.
Philanax (fih-LA-naks), regent of Arcadia, a man of intelligence and integrity.
Dametas (day-MEE-tuhs), a foolish, arrogant shepherd, Pamela’s guardian.
Miso (MI-soh), the sharp-tongued, jealous wife of Dametas.
Mopsa (MOP-suh), their homely daughter. Her stupidity makes her a useful cover for the blossoming romance between Musidorus and Pamela.
Argalus (AHR-guh-luhs), a worthy young lord and a devoted lover and husband. He dies defending the rights of his cousins, Pamela and Philoclea, against Amphialus.
Parthenia (pahr-THEE-nih-uh), Argalus’ gracious wife. Grief-stricken at his death, she arms herself and fights a fatal duel with Amphialus, unwilling to live without her husband.
Demagoras (deh-MA-guh-ruhs), her vengeful rejected suitor.
Evarchus (eh-VAHR-kuhs), King of Macedon, who is judge in the trial after Basilius’ apparent death. He is deeply grieved to learn that he has condemned his son Pyrocles and his nephew Musidorus, but he insists that he must endure his own suffering and uphold law and order.
Helen, Queen of Corinth. Enamored of Amphialus, she pursues him over the countryside while adoring his picture. She comes to heal his wounds after his combat with Musidorus.
Philoxenus (fih-lehk-ZEE-nuhs), a suitor of Helen. Jealous of her attentions to his foster brother, Amphialus, he challenges his rival and dies in the ensuing duel.
Timotheus (tih-MOH-thih-uhs), the father of Philoxenus.
Kalander (kah-LAN-dur), an Arcadian gentleman who shelters Musidorus after he has been shipwrecked.
Clitophon (KLI-tuh-fon), his son.
Ismenus (ihs-MEE-nuhs), Amphialus’ devoted squire, killed in a battle with Philanax.
Phalantus (fuh-LAN -tuhs), a Corinthian knight who is persuaded by his selfish lady to defend the supremacy of her beauty...
(The entire section contains 897 words.)
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