Perdican (pehr-dee-KAH[N]), the son of a French nobleman. He returns to his father’s home after receiving his doctorate. He is a somewhat worldly man and is distressed to find his childhood sweetheart cool to him. He tries to win her. Failing in his suit, he courts a peasant girl, who dies of shock when she learns that Perdican does not really love her.
Camille (kah-MEEL), Perdican’s childhood sweetheart and an heiress. Reared in a convent, she looks for happiness as a nun, rather than as a wife. She is confused when she finds that she loves Perdican, and her indecision drives Perdican to the peasant girl. Camille is greatly distressed when the girl dies, and she blames herself; she inflicts punishment on herself by bidding her suitor goodbye.
Rosette (roh-ZEHT), a sweet and loving peasant girl who is courted by Perdican and who loves him deeply. When she learns that her lover really wants Camille as his wife, she dies of shock.
The baron, Perdican’s father, who is eager for his son to marry Camille, the heiress.
Dame Pluche (plewsh), Camille’s chaperon, an easily scandalized woman who is rigorous in performing her duties.
Maître Blazius (mehtr blah-ZYEWS), Perdican’s tutor. He is a fat and foolish priest, and a heavy drinker and eater, who wants to be priest in the baron’s household.
Maître Bridaine (bree-DEHN), Maitre Blazius’ competitor for a place in the baron’s household. He, like his rival, is a foolish gourmand.