Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Alphonso, the young duke of Sicily, whose life is shaped by his love for his wife Ianthe and by his sense of honor. His fleeting jealousy of the attentions lavished by the sultan on Ianthe does not impair the happiness of his marriage, and he fights valiantly to save his wife and Rhodes.


Ianthe, his beautiful wife, who bravely travels from Sicily to join her husband in Rhodes. Captured by the Turks, she wins the sultan’s admiration with her fidelity and devotion to her husband. She thus can later intercede with him on behalf of the besieged island. She is as conscious as Alphonso is of the value of honor, and she encourages his refusal to fly to Sicily under the sultan’s protection.

Solyman II

Solyman II (SAHL-uh-muhn), called Solyman the Magnificent, the magnanimous sultan of the Ottoman Empire. He values virtue and love above military victory and offers aid to Ianthe and her husband. He contrasts the patience and calm of the Christian wife with the fury directed at him by his beloved sultana and contrives to win her back by letting her witness Ianthe’s devotion to Alphonso.


Roxalana (ROKS-ah-lan-ah), his tempestuous queen. Jealous for the future of her son, the sultan’s younger child, she rails at her husband and passionately resents his favors to Ianthe. She is, however, so much touched by Ianthe’s patience and love that she arranges Ianthe’s reunion with Alphonso. She is herself happily reconciled with the sultan, who welcomes this sign of tenderness in her.

Villerius, Philip Villiers de L’Isle Adam

Villerius, Philip Villiers de L’Isle Adam (vihl-LEHR-ee-ews), the brave grand master of Rhodes, another upholder of “love and honor.”


Pyrrhus (PIHR-uhs), a Persian general.


(Great Characters in Literature)

Bordinat, Philip, and Sophia B. Blaydes. Sir William Davenant. Boston: Twayne, 1981. The best place to begin a study of Davenant and his work. An account of Davenant’s life and times is followed by discussions of his major works. Annotated bibliography.

Edmond, Mary. Rare Sir William Davenant. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1987. Besides playing a pivotal role in the re-establishment of the London theater following the English civil war, Davenant led a fascinating, multifaceted life. Edmond’s biography (the first since the 1930’s) provides a solid account of that life as well as a useful discussion of The Siege of Rhodes.

Hedback, Ann-Mari, ed. Introduction to The Siege of Rhodes, by Sir William Davenant. Uppsala, Sweden: University of Uppsala, 1973. A modern edition of The Siege of Rhodes. The textual scholarship is impeccably thorough, and the introduction provides the finest available discussion of the play.

Powell, Jocelyn. Restoration Theatre Production. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984. A delightful study of Restoration drama. Contains a brief but very helpful discussion of The Siege of Rhodes.

Summers, Montague. The Playhouse of Pepys. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1935. A chapter on Davenant includes a helpful account of The Siege of Rhodes.