Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Ralph Roister Doister

Ralph Roister Doister, a pompous braggart so taken with the idea of his own prowess that he believes no woman can resist him. He is gullible and is easy prey to the flattery and chicanery of Matthew Merrygreeke. His ridiculous efforts to be a romantic figure and his complete rout by the feminine forces in a pitched battle make him a laughable creation. He is a much-purified adaptation of the braggart soldier in Plautus’ Miles Gloriosus.

Matthew Merrygreeke

Matthew Merrygreeke, a witty parasite. He makes his living by sponging on characters like Ralph, whom he flatters fulsomely for free meals. His flattery, however, usually is mixed with irony. He enjoys stirring up strife. In the pitched battle between Ralph’s and the widow’s forces, he pretends to help Ralph but always misses the widow and lets his blows fall on Ralph.

Dame Christian Custance

Dame Christian Custance, a virtuous, humorless widow betrothed to Gawin Goodluck, who is away at sea. She is infuriated at Ralph’s suit. Her weapons against him do not include the laughter his behavior should arouse, and she is distressed by Gawin Goodluck’s questioning about her conduct. After he has been satisfied that she is blameless, she grudgingly consents to allow Ralph to appear in her presence at the feast of general reconciliation and celebration.

Margery “Madge” Mumblecrust...

(The entire section is 596 words.)