The Tragedy of Tragedies

by Henry Fielding

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Characters Discussed

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Tom Thumb

Tom Thumb, a midget son of peasant parents in King Arthur’s time. He accomplishes great deeds, even subduing ten thousand giants. He takes Princess Huncamunca as his bride, but his happiness is short-lived, for after subduing rebels led by Lord Grizzle, he is swallowed at a single gulp by a red cow.

Queen Dollallolla

Queen Dollallolla, the wife of King Arthur. She loves drinking, and she loves Tom Thumb. Although she does not fear the king—indeed, he is afraid of her—she does not tell him of her love for the little hero. She is slain by a courtier’s mistress in a senseless series of murders.

Queen Glumdalca

Queen Glumdalca, a giantess and King Arthur’s enemy. She is subdued by Tom Thumb and brought to Arthur’s court, where the king falls in love with her. She wants Tom Thumb as her lover, but she settles for the king. She is killed by Lord Grizzle while defending Arthur against the rebels.

King Arthur

King Arthur, the king of England and Tom Thumb’s liege lord. He loves Glumdalca and fears his wife. He kills himself after a senseless series of murders leaves him alone.

Princess Huncamunca

Princess Huncamunca, the daughter of King Arthur, loved by Tom Thumb. She marries Tom Thumb, whom she has loved for a long time. When she discovers that Lord Grizzle loves her, she wants to have two husbands. She kills her mother’s murderer and then is herself slain.

Lord Grizzle

Lord Grizzle, a malcontent. He promises to kill Tom Thumb for Queen Dollallolla. In his rebellion against King Arthur, he is slain by Tom Thumb.


Merlin, the magician at Arthur’s court. He grants Tom Thumb a vision in which the little hero foresees that he will be eaten by a red cow.

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