(Great Characters in Literature)

Characters Discussed

Christian II

Christian II, a rather foolish, vapid, and childish monarch who rules Illyria until he is deposed after a revolution and forced to flee to Paris with Frédérique, his queen, and Léopold, his son. He spends his exile waiting for his restoration, frequenting Parisian theaters and cafes, and selecting and rejecting mistresses. A faction working for financial gain is at the point of securing his abdication when Frédérique, in a burst of hysterical melodramatics, dissuades him. At last he does abdicate, after an invasion of Illyria launched to restore him fails, in favor of his son, who becomes King Léopold V of Illyria and Dalmatia.


Frédérique (fray-day-REEK), queen of Illyria, who actively runs the affairs of the kingdom during the period of exile. It is she who attends to financial problems, selects a tutor for the prince, and prevents the king’s irrational behavior from destroying the royal family. Her platonic affair with her son’s tutor, Meraut, is dignified and poignant.

Élysée Meraut

Élysée Meraut (ay-lee-SAY may-ROH), the prince’s tutor and a man of good taste and discretion. The warm friendship with the queen that Meraut enjoys is broken when an unfortunate accident occurs while the tutor and the prince are target shooting. The prince...

(The entire section is 405 words.)