Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

William Rufus

William Rufus, the king of England, a lustful, treacherous tyrant. He tricks and taunts Sir Walter into promising to send his beautiful wife alone to the palace, intending to violate her. When Sir Walter brings him her apparently dead body, the king is seized with remorse; he repents, and on her revival he gives her back to her husband unharmed.

Sir Walter Terrill

Sir Walter Terrill, the king’s loyal follower. He agrees to let his wife take poison rather than become the prey of the king.


Caelestine, Sir Walter’s beautiful bride. She too prefers the poison to the loss of her virtue.

Sir Quintilian Shorthose

Sir Quintilian Shorthose, Caelestine’s father. Deceiving both Caelestine and Sir Walter, he pretends to poison her but actually gives her a sleeping potion that causes her to appear dead.

Mistress Miniver

Mistress Miniver, a foolish wealthy widow. Her hand is sought by Sir Quintilian, Sir Vaughan, Sir Adam, and Captain Tucca. She yields to the aggressive Tucca and rejects the three knights.

Sir Vaughan ap Rees

Sir Vaughan ap Rees, a Welsh knight, one of the widow’s suitors.

Sir Adam Prickshaft

Sir Adam Prickshaft, another of the widow’s suitors.


Horace, the humorous poet, an amusing caricature of Ben Jonson. A specialist in satires and epithalamiums, he writes satirical pieces on his fellow poets and others and on invitation works on a marriage song for Sir Walter and Caelestine. He is forced by Tucca to wear a laureate crown of nettles and to swear to give up satirical writing against his fellows.

Asinius Bubo

Asinius Bubo, Horace’s admiring follower, perhaps a caricature of Michael Drayton.


Crispinus, a poet, probably a representation of John Marston.


Demetrius, another poet, probably a representation of the playwright himself.

Captain Tucca

Captain Tucca, a roaring roisterer, loudmouthed and vulgar, given to fantastic figures of speech. He is the instrument of Horace’s humiliation at court. He wins the hand of the widow in spite of her knightly suitors.


(Great Characters in Literature)

Champion, Larry S. Thomas Dekker and the Traditions of English Drama. New York: Peter Lang, 1985. A good, general overview of Dekker’s writings and a helpful guide to his place in the dramatic literature of the time.

Hoy, Cyrus Henry. Introduction to The Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker, edited by Fredson Bowers. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1980. A well-rounded survey of Dekker’s stage works, with emphasis on their composition and production. It is helpful to have the dramas and their critical examination so closely connected.

Kernan, Alvin. The Cankered Muse. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1959. A study of the rival theatrical companies and playwrights of Elizabethan London and the impact of their controversies on the dramas of the period.

Logan, Terence P., and Denzell S. Smith, eds. “Thomas Dekker” in The Popular Schools. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1975. A sourcebook for additional information about Dekker and his plays.

Price, George. Thomas Dekker. New York: Twayne, 1969. Covers Dekker’s life and work and is especially good in placing him within the context of his times. Valuable for those beginning to study Dekker.