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Last Updated on May 9, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 273

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Characters Discussed

Duke Alphonso

Duke Alphonso, an elderly widower who is in love with Margaret. Under the influence of a sinister favorite who calls himself Medice, he banishes his son for attempting to marry Margaret. Although he is hot-tempered, the duke is generous and finally forgives the young couple.

Prince Vincentio

Prince Vincentio (veen-chehn-TEE-oh), the duke’s son. Rather than lose Margaret, he makes a private marriage contract with her, gaining access to her by flattering her father’s gentleman usher. Seriously wounded by Medice, he recovers, receives his father’s forgiveness, and is united with Margaret.


Margaret, Count Lasso’s daughter. Thinking Vincentio slain by his father’s orders, she disfigures her face and denounces the duke for his tyranny, bringing about his repentance and reformation.

Count Lasso

Count Lasso (LAHS-soh), Margaret’s tyrannical father, who wishes her to marry the duke.


Cortezza (kohr-TAYZ-zah), Lasso’s sister, who steals a letter from Margaret’s jewel box and betrays the young lovers to the count and the duke.


Bassiolo (bahs-see-OH-loh), the count’s pompous gentleman usher. Susceptible to flattery, he aids Vincentio in sending a letter to Margaret and in bringing the lovers together. He also is forgiven by his angry master.

Count Strozza

Count Strozza (STROHZ-zah), Vincentio’s friend. Medice treacherously has him shot with an arrow, but he recovers to unmask Medice and furnishes a physician to heal Vincentio and Margaret.


Medice (meh-DEE-cheh), the duke’s malicious parasite, an impostor. Responsible for most of the misfortune befalling the other characters, he is terrorized into confessing his crimes and his real identity and is banished by the duke.




Critical Essays