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, 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.