Characters Discussed

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 303

Valentine Legend

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Valentine Legend, a young would-be playwright. He loves Angelica. He is also in debt, having wasted his money in high living. Although he falls into disfavor with his father, Sir Sampson Legend, he redeems himself and eventually marries Angelica.

Sir Sampson Legend

Sir Sampson Legend, who decides to disinherit his son Valentine, a wastrel. His plan fails when Valentine feigns madness.


Angelica, a beautiful young woman loved by Valentine. She is both wealthy and clever. Loving Valentine, she puts up with his temporary faults and finally marries him.


Jeremy, Valentine’s clever but knavish servant.


Trapland, a lecherous, elderly scrivener, one of Valentine’s creditors.


Scandal, Valentine’s friend. He plays upon Foresight’s belief in astrology to prevent a marriage between Ben Legend and Prue Foresight. He also flirts with Mrs. Foresight, a young woman married to an old man.

Ben Legend

Ben Legend, Valentine’s young brother, who stands to inherit Sir Sampson’s estate if Valentine is cut off.


Foresight, a foolish old man who believes in astrology and has a young wife. He is Angelica’s uncle. He realizes at last that he is really an old fool and admits it.

Prue Foresight

Prue Foresight, his countrified daughter. She dislikes Ben, whom her father wants her to marry. Although she is fascinated by Tattle, who almost succeeds in seducing her, she ends up wanting to marry Robin, a butler.

Mrs. Foresight

Mrs. Foresight, Foresight’s young, flirtatious wife.

Mistress Frail

Mistress Frail, Mrs. Foresight’s sister. She wants to marry a rich man, but she is finally tricked into marrying Tattle.


Tattle, a talkative young dandy. He is tricked into marrying Mistress Frail.


Buckram, a lawyer working for Sir Sampson.


Robin, a butler who is in love with Prue.


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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1641

Angelica is Valentine’s beloved, a saucy, independent young woman possessed of ‘‘a considerable fortune.’’ We first see Angelica in her uncle’s house, asking her uncle for the loan of his carriage so that she can ‘‘gad about’’ town. During the play, we see her in no affectionate or loving exchanges with Valentine; rather, their scenes together reveal her wit and self-assuredness. She tests Valentine’s love by pretending to desire his father, Sir Sampson, who assures her of his youthful vigor. Like a perfect coquette, she commits to no man, feigning indifference to all.

At the same time that she demonstrates her own wit, Angelica is suspicious of the motivations of witty men, telling Valentine that ‘‘She that marries a very Witty Man submits both to the Severity and insolent Conduct of her Husband. I should like a Man of Wit for a Lover, because I would have such a one in my Power; but I would no more be his Wife than his Enemy.’’ Her role in the play is to ‘‘unmask’’ or reveal the characters’ true natures that lie beneath the pretenses they put on. Through her, we learn that Sir Sampson cares for neither son; because of her, Valentine’s genuinely loving side comes out; her conversation shows Foresight’s astrological ideas to be idiotic. She is by no means ‘‘angelic,’’ but in many ways she is the moral center of the play, for her actions reveal the dishonesties of the other characters.

Jeremy Fetch
Jeremy is Valentine’s servant, who jokes about wishing to be released from his contract. Jeremy feels himself to be above servant status and mentions twice that he has been ‘‘at Cambridge’’ (albeit as a servant) and has picked up some education from his master there. Valentine confides in him and uses him to advance his plans. In the first act, he is quite impudent to Valentine, making...

(The entire section contains 1944 words.)

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Critical Essays