Characters

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 162

The Lord and Lady of Penshurst: In real life these are Robert Sidney, Earl of Leicester and his wife. In the poem they are unnamed but described as virtuous and religious. Jonson uses their virtue to take swipes at the behavior of other nobles: for example, the lord of Penshurst...

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The Lord and Lady of Penshurst: In real life these are Robert Sidney, Earl of Leicester and his wife. In the poem they are unnamed but described as virtuous and religious. Jonson uses their virtue to take swipes at the behavior of other nobles: for example, the lord of Penshurst can be confident his children are his own, which Jonson notes is "rarely known." They are brought up to be gentle and to pray. All of Penshurst reflects the generosity and kindness of the Sidneys, who embrace values beyond "show."

The laborers: Labor is easy at Penshurst and the lower classes taken good care of here. The "farmer" and the "clown" are invited to the lord's feast and fed the same food as the lord himself. The "waiter" is also well fed and doesn't have to envy the people he waits on their food and drink. Penshurst is a place of abundance and not built on the suffering of the lower orders.

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