Roxana Characters
by Daniel Defoe

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Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Roxana, a woman left penniless by her husband at the age of twenty-two. To support herself and her children, she becomes her landlord’s mistress and bears him a child. After his death, she becomes the mistress of a prince, out of vanity rather than need. She bears the prince a child during the eight years of their alliance. She then takes other lovers, receiving riches from them, until she is fifty years old. She finally leaves her role as a courtesan to marry and become a respectable wife.

Mr. ———

Mr. ———, Roxana’s landlord and first lover. He helps Roxana when her husband leaves her, becoming a boarder in her house and then her lover, treating her generously during their five years together. He wants children badly and, when Roxana does not at first bear him a child, Roxana’s maid does so. Mr. ——— is robbed and murdered. He leaves his wealth to Roxana.

The Prince de ———

The Prince de ———, Roxana’s second lover. He protects her after her first lover’s untimely death in Paris. He remains her lover for eight years and rewards her with rich gifts. Upon his wife’s death, however, he repents his sinful life and leaves Roxana.

A merchant

A merchant, who takes care of Roxana’s wealth for her during the years after she parts from the Prince de ———. Roxana bears the merchant a son, after a brief affair. Later, he and Roxana are married, legitimize their son, and settle down to respectability in Holland.


Amy, Roxana’s faithful maid. She serves her mistress without pay while Roxana is poor. She even bears a child for Mr. ——— when it seems that Roxana cannot. Loyal to the end, she is finally dismissed by Roxana when she threatens to murder Roxana’s legitimate daughter to quiet her tongue about Roxana’s past.

List of Characters

She is the protagonist, a lively, intelligent daughter of refugee French parents who are forced to leave France because they are Protestants in a predominantly Roman Catholic county.

Roxana's Father
A jeweler by profession, he does very well in business when he moves to London. He brings up his daughter happy and well-to-do.

The Brewer
Roxana's father-in-law, he is decent man and a good businessman but leaves behind a ne'er-do-well son.

Roxana's Husband
He is a stupid, handsome, good-for-nothing fool. A brewer's son, he squanders the brewery and the money he inherits from his father and eventually runs away to France and joins the army. He dies foolishly in a misadventure.

Roxana's maid servant, she is a bright, intelligent young woman who is more than just a maid to Roxana. She is her adviser and confidant, and partner in most of Roxana's adventures throughout the story.

The Landlord
He is the landlord of the house Roxana rents with her husband. After she is abandoned by her husband, the landlord is at first cruel and mercenary with her, but soon falls in love with her and makes her his mistress. He is fair and faithful to Roxana until his death in France. He is a jeweler by profession

The French Lord
He is a nobleman of the French Royal family, and an acquaintance of Roxana's lover, the landlord who deals in jewelry with him. He falls in love with Roxana after the landlord's death and makes her his mistress, lavishing his love and wealth on her. He treats her very fairly until his own wife dies. Stricken with remorse, he gives up Roxana.

The Jewish Businessman
He hounds Roxana and tries to strip her of all her wealth. Apparently he goes as far as to plot Roxana's death.

The Dutch Businessman
He hoodwinks the Jewish businessman and saves Roxana from destruction by sending her away with her maid, Amy, to Holland. He ensures that her property is safe and gives her money to tide her over when she reaches Holland. Later, he follows her to Holland and declares his love for her. Roxana agrees to be his lover, but not his wife. He has a son by Roxana and lets her go to London without marrying him. Toward the end of the story, Roxana does marry him, but he realizes that she has...

(The entire section is 2,063 words.)