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Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 582

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Characters Discussed


Pisander (pih-SAN-dur), a Theban nobleman disguised as Marullo, a bondman. He is diverted by his love of Cleora from taking revenge on Leosthenes, who has jilted his sister. He instigates a revolt of the slaves in the absence of the Syracusan army, his purpose being to obtain Cleora’s love. His gracious and generous behavior while he is in power in the city and his fortitude in adversity win her heart. He is much given to verbal heroics.


Cleora (kleh-OH-ruh), the daughter of Archidamus, beloved by Leosthenes and Pisander. Filled with noble sentiments and rhetoric, she is angered by Leosthenes’ distrust of her and vows to remain blindfolded and speechless until he returns from the war with Carthage. She becomes further angered when, after fulfilling her vow, she is still distrusted. Finally, she accepts Pisander.


Leosthenes (leh-OS-theh-neez), who formerly was contracted to Statilia. His lack of faith in Cleora and his persecution of Pisander/Marullo alienate her. When confronted with Statilia in the trial scene, he shamefacedly acknowledges her claim and gives up Cleora to Pisander.


Statilia (steh-TIH-lee-uh), Pisander’s sister, in disguise as Timandra, Cleora’s slave. She loves Leosthenes and helps her brother win Cleora for both selfish and unselfish reasons.


Archidamus (ahr-chih-DA-muhs), the praetor of Syracuse, a just and noble-hearted ruler. He dislikes Leosthenes and, after protecting his supposed slave Marullo in the trial, finally welcomes him as a son-in-law in the person of Pisander.


Timagoras (tih-MA-goh-ruhs), Cleora’s hot-tempered brother, a friend of Leosthenes. His snobbish, arrogant behavior toward Pisander/Marullo and his angry abuse of his sister for favoring a slave help to strengthen Cleora’s growing love.


Timoleon (ti-MOH-leh-on), a Corinthian general aiding the Syracusans against the Carthaginians. He admires Cleora for her inspirational speeches to the soldiers. Undismayed by the slaves who hold Syracuse when he returns from the war, he puts down their rebellion.


Cleon (KLEE-on), a foolish, impotent old man.


Corisca (koh-RIHS-kuh), his wanton second wife. When the army takes away the presentable male citizens, she is too snobbish to take a lover from among the slaves but too lustful to be without a lover; she therefore attempts to seduce her stepson. During the temporarily successful revolt of the slaves, in her suffering and sorrow as a slave of slaves, she acquires self-knowledge and redemption.


Asotus (eh-SOH-tuhs), Cleon’s stupid, cowardly son. Left behind when the able warriors go out to battle, he mistreats the slaves and becomes enamored of his stepmother. When the slaves rebel, he is forced to play the ape with a chain around his neck.


Olympia (oh-LIHM-pee-uh), a wanton, rich widow and a friend of Corisca. So man-crazy that she has love affairs with her own slaves when other men are not available, she marries Poliphron while the slaves are in power.


Poliphron (PO-lih-fron), a slave, a friend and confidant of Marullo.


Cimbrio (SIHM-bree-oh), a slave. He becomes drunken and rowdy while the slaves have control but is terrified into submission on the return of the masters.


Gracculo (GRA-kuh-loh), a satirical slave. He makes comical remarks about Cleon, Corisca, and Asotus in asides to the audience. During the rule of the slaves, he leads Asotus around on his chain and makes him do tricks. He is a spokesman for the repentant slaves.


Zanthia (ZAN-thee-uh), Corisca’s slave. She takes part in the play-acting scene that Corisca plans for the seduction of Asotus.




Critical Essays