The Scornful Lady
The Scornful Lady, a headstrong, independent young woman. Cursed with a streak of perversity, she heaps scorn and indignity on the man she loves whenever he is present. She is disturbed by this and frequently resolves to reform, but she constantly lapses. Only the fear that she is about to lose him forever brings her to accept marriage with him.
Martha, the Lady’s sister. She joins in jeering and flouting her sister’s lover, but he later triumphs by tricking her into marrying one of the Lady’s other suitors.
Elder Loveless, the Lady’s true lover. Angered at being banished by her for kissing her in public, he tries various tricks to make her revoke the banishment and marry him. He is several times outwitted by her but finally overcomes her reluctance by producing an apparent bride-to-be.
Young Loveless, his trifling and prodigal younger brother. In spite of his scapegrace behavior, Young Loveless finds a wealthy and attractive widow for his wife.
Savil, Elder Loveless’ steward. When the elder brother is reported dead, Savil panders to the younger’s scandalous behavior. On the master’s return, Savil is discharged for failing in his responsibility; he is later forgiven.
Morecraft, an unscrupulous moneylender. His projects for gaining possession of Loveless’ land fail, and he loses his fiancée to Young Loveless; as a result, he decides to turn prodigal, hoping that the dividends will be as high in his case as in Young Loveless’.
Abigail (Mrs. Younglove), the Lady’s elderly waiting woman. Highly susceptible, she pursues several men, finally marrying Sir Roger, the curate.
Welford, a suitor for the Lady’s hand. After a quarrelsome first meeting, he and Elder Loveless join forces. He disguises himself as Elder Loveless’ supposed bride-to-be, thereby helping his former rival to win the Lady and winning Martha for himself.
The Widow, Morecraft’s fiancée, who will not consent to marry him until he gains a knighthood. She deserts him for Young Loveless.
Sir Roger, the Lady’s curate, whom aging Abigail snares for a husband.