The Revenge of Bussy d'Ambois Characters

George Chapman

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Clermont d’Ambois

Clermont d’Ambois (klehr-MOH[N] dahm-BWAH), the brother of Bussy d’Ambois and his sworn avenger. He is the playwright’s ideal hero, brave, learned, and stoic, resolved to preserve inviolate “a good mind and a name” through whatever changes in fortune destiny brings him.


Charlotte, his intensely emotional sister, who spurs Clermont and her husband to avenge Bussy with the cold-blooded forcefulness of a Lady Macbeth.


Baligny (bah-leen-YEE), Charlotte’s husband, a time-serving courtier. He professes allegiance to Guise and virtue while he is conspiring with King Henry to overthrow the duke.

Henry III

Henry III, the king of France. No longer portrayed as the just, if slightly susceptible, ruler of Bussy d’Ambois, he surfeits himself with sensual pleasures and plots the destruction of virtuous men around him.

The duc du Guise

The duc du Guise (dewk dew geez), Bussy’s enemy, who has become a “tenth worthy,” the exemplar of all virtue, and Clermont’s friend and patron.


Montsurry (moh[n]-sewr-REE), Bussy’s slayer. His refusal to accept Clermont’s challenge marks him as weak and cowardly until the last moments of his life, when he summons enough courage to defend himself valiantly against his opponent.


Tamyra (tah-MEER-rah), his countess. Forsaking her resolution to wander until her death, she is again living with her husband and simultaneously plotting with Charlotte to avenge her lover.


Renel (reh-NEHL), Clermont’s friend, an astute critic of the corruption at court.


Maillard (mi-YAHR), Baligny’s lieutenant. He defends his ambush of Clermont on the grounds that the public good and the will of the king justify private treachery.

The countess of Cambrai

The countess of Cambrai (kahm-BRAY), Clermont’s mistress, who literally cries her eyes out grieving over his arrest.


(Great Characters in Literature)

Bowers, Fredson. “The School of Kyd.” Elizabethan Revenge Tragedy 1587-1642. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1940. Claims Chapman reverses the traditional pattern of the revenge tragedy in his sequel to Bussy d’Ambois. Explains how he introduces the concept of virtue into the character of the revenger, and makes him a respectable gentleman.

MacLure, Millar. George Chapman: A Critical Study. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1966. Briefly notes historical sources for the drama. Focuses on Chapman’s development of his tragic hero and discusses the playwright’s abilities as a dramaturge.

Rees, Ennis. The Tragedies of George Chapman: Renaissance Ethics in Action. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1954. Concentrates on the political and ethical dimensions of the drama. Highlights Chapman’s careful depiction of contrasting qualities between Bussy and Clermont.

Spivack, Charlotte. George Chapman. New York: Twayne, 1967. Relates The Revenge of Bussy d’Ambois to revenge tragedies popular during the period. Comments on Chapman’s handling of language and dramatic conventions.

Wieler, John William. George Chapman: The Effect of Stoicism on His Tragedies. New York: King’s Crown Press, 1949. Explains how the drama reveals Chapman’s interest in Stoicism; sees that interest causing the playwright to change his attitude toward the character of Clermont, whom he eventually repudiates.