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Last Updated on July 9, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 386

Don Carlos, Infante of Spain is Friedrich Schiller's historical play based on the life of the King of Spain. There are five main characters and eight minor.

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Don Carlos

Don Carlos is the young adult heir to the throne of Spain. He fights with his father and wants to leave Madrid and become an emissary to Flanders, in present-day Belgium. He is in love with his stepmother, the Queen, whom he courted previous to her marriage to the King.

Philip the Second

Philip the Second is the King of Spain, the most powerful monarch in Europe. He has no love, only self-interest, and he is jealous, insecure, and easily fooled.


The Marquis de Posa, or Roderigo, is a friend of Don Carlos's. He swore loyalty to Carlos and is a superb soldier, confidant, thoughtful, and secretly a member of a religious order.

The Duke of Alva

The Duke of Alva is an agent of Philip, working with others in the court against Don Carlos.

Elizabeth de Valois

Elizabeth de Valois is the Queen of Spain, Philip’s second wife. She loves her stepson and hates the king, working to put Carlos on the throne.

The Princess de Eboli

The Princess de Eboli is an attendant for the Queen. She has an affair with Philip and is conspiring against Don Carlos.

The Grand Inquisitor

The Grand Inquisitor of Spain is a blind cardinal who identifies Posa as a member of a secret religious order. Philip gives Don Carlos to the Inquisitor to take the place of Posa.


Domingo is the confessor to the King, working with Alva and against Don Carlos becoming king.

Count Lerma

Count Lerma is the colonel of the royal bodyguard. He reports both facts and rumors to Don Carlos.

The Marchioness de Mondecar

The Marchioness de Mondecar is also an attendant to the queen. She is fired because she was in the garden with Don Carlos.

Don Raimond de Taxis

Don Raimond de Taxis is the postmaster general, who reveals Posa’s letters that prove Don Carlos was not at fault.

Don Luis Mercado

Don Louis Mercado is physician to the Queen and aids Don Carlos in escaping.

The Duke of Medina Sidonia

The Duke of Medina Sidonia is Admiral of the King’s fleet, forgiven by the King for negligence.

Characters Discussed

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 818

Don Carlos

Don Carlos, the sensitive, twenty-three-year-old heir to the throne of Spain. His life is a constant battle with his father, with neither holding any love for the other. Resenting his father’s second marriage—Don Carlos had been in love with the bride, Elizabeth de Valois—the prince wants to leave Madrid. He hopes to free himself of the constant reminder of his continuing love for his father’s wife and, as heir to the throne, establish his stature as an emissary to Flanders. Despite the unstinting efforts of his close friend for Don Carlos’ happiness, Carlos’ implied lot is commitment by his father to a monastery.

Philip the Second

Philip the Second, the king of Spain. An austere monarch lacking in compassion, he knows no love either as the loved or as the lover. In only one instance is he forgiving, toward an admiral who lost a fleet in rough seas. The king’s goodness, much acclaimed by his court, is motivated more by self-gain than by altruism. Jealous and insecure, Philip is easily duped by any talebearer. He blames the church for not protecting him by warning him of forces working against him. He is rebuked, in turn, for not asking the help of the church. Philip’s character is quickly reflected in the question put to him: “When you whine for sympathy, is not the world your equal?”

The marquis de Posa

The marquis de Posa, the friend of Don Carlos, who calls him Roderigo. Posa swore lifelong allegiance to Don Carlos for his defense of Posa in a childhood mishap. A hero in every sense of the word, Posa shows military...

(The entire section contains 1441 words.)

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