Deirdre of the Sorrows Characters

J. M. Synge

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Deirdre (DEER-druh), a Gaelic legendary heroine foretold to bring trouble into the world. Loved by King Conchubor, she, in turn, loves Naisi, with whom she flees. After seven years of happiness, the lovers are lured back to the king’s castle, where Naisi is slain. In her sorrow, Deirdre kills herself to join her lover in another world.


Naisi (NAY-shee), a Gaelic legendary hero. Winning Deirdre’s love, he takes her from King Conchubor. After seven happy years with his bride, he is tricked into a meeting with the king and is slain.


Conchubor (kon-KEW-bohr), the lonely king of Ulster. In love with Deirdre, whom he has resolved to marry in spite of the prophecy that she is born for trouble, he loses her to Naisi. Eventually, he tricks the lovers into a meeting at which Naisi is slain. After Deirdre commits suicide in her grief, the king is led away, old and broken.


Lavarcham (lah-VAHR-kahm), Deirdre’s nurse.


Fergus, King Conchubor’s friend. In good faith, he brings King Conchubor’s peace offering to Deirdre and Naisi. When he learns of the lovers’ betrayal, he burns the king’s castle.


Owen, King Conchubor’s friend and spy. In despair over his hopeless love for Deirdre, he destroys himself.


Ainnle (AYN-luh) and


Ardan, Naisi’s brothers, slain with him by King Conchubor’s warriors.