Segismundo (say-hees-MEWN-doh), the heir to the throne of Poland, who has been imprisoned in a tower on the Russian frontier because horrible portents at his birth and later predictions by astrologers have convinced his father, King Basilio, that the boy will grow into a monster who will destroy the land. Finally, because the king sees his land split over the matter of succession, Segismundo is drugged and transported from his prison to the court of Warsaw. There, uncouth and inexperienced, he behaves boorishly. He accuses the court of wronging him and scorns his father’s explanations thus: “What man is so foolish as to lay on the disinterested stars the responsibility for his own actions?” Impossible as a king, he is again drugged and returned to his tower, where he is told it was all a dream. Later liberated by an army recruited by Rosaura, in revenge on the ambitious Astolfo, he thinks he is still dreaming. He wonders why he should strive in a dream for something that disappears upon waking. On that account, he will not accept the throne when his followers overthrow King Basilio. He treats everybody kindly and generously, marries Estrella, and forces Astolfo to keep his promise and marry Rosaura.
Rosaura (rroh-SAH-ew-rah), a Russian woman traveling with her servant Fife to the court of Warsaw to seek the Pole who had promised to marry her....
(The entire section is 605 words.)