Zuleika Dobson, a bewitching young woman with whom all the Oxford undergraduates fall in love. She can love only a man who will not love her. After all the young Oxonians have committed suicide for love of her, Zuleika takes a train for Cambridge and another try for a man she can love. She earns her living as a magician.
The Duke of Dorset
The Duke of Dorset, a rich young English aristocrat in love with Zuleika. When she pours a pitcher of water on his head, he believes he is released from his vow to commit suicide for her. When a strange bird sings, heralding a death in his family, he commits suicide anyway, rather than break a tradition. He throws himself in the river and drowns.
Noaks, an impecunious student. Zuleika thinks she can love him, because he does not love her. Noaks, however, commits suicide by jumping out a window because he thinks Katie Batch does not love him.
Katie Batch, the pretty daughter of the Duke of Dorset’s landlady. She tells Zuleika that the duke committed suicide out of respect for tradition, not love for Zuleika.
The Warden of Judas College
The Warden of Judas College, Zuleika’s grandfather. Her visit to see him at Oxford sets off the whole absurd chain of events.