Leon (leh-OHN), a young Spanish gentleman. Pretending to be a cowardly soldier and a stupid oaf, he is married by Margarita in expectation of his being a tame husband; however, he tames his wife and overcomes his rivals.
Margarita (mahr-gahr-EE-tah), a rich and unprincipled young woman. Wishing to indulge her romantic passion indiscriminately but desiring to protect her reputation, she marries Leon. His cleverness and strength reform her and make her a faithful wife.
Don Juan de Castro
Don Juan de Castro (hwahn de KAHS-troh), a colonel and a successful, battle-proved veteran. A fair-minded man, he delights in Leon’s actions and encourages them.
Michael Perez (PEH-rehs), a fellow soldier of Don Juan. He pretends to be wealthy to marry the attractive Estifania, whom he thinks wealthy. Their marriage, based on mutual deceit, is a rocky one, but it reaches a reasonable level of stability and happiness.
Estifania (ehs-tee-FAH-nee-ah), Margarita’s wily maid. Living as a caretaker in Margarita’s house, she pretends to be a wealthy lady. She cheats and steals from her masculine victims, including her husband, Michael. Finally, she and Michael settle down as dependents of Leon and Margarita.
The duke of Medina
The duke of Medina (meh-DEE-nah), Margarita’s projected lover. At first thwarted in his amorous attempts by Leon, he is finally completely discomfited by Margarita herself.
Cacafogo (kah-kah-FOH-goh), a fat, drunken coward. Thinking himself irresistible to women, he is cheated by Estifania and fooled by Margarita.
Altea (ahl-TEH-ah), Margarita’s companion. Unknown to Margarita is the fact that Altea is Leon’s sister. Her successful matchmaking gives her brother a rich and beautiful bride and her friend a stabilizing and redeeming husband.