Ferdinand, King of Navarre

While the play's dramatis personae lists the King as Ferdinand, throughout the play he is referred to only as "King." He is a scholar and has sworn an oath to uphold his scholarship at the expense of earthly pleasures, the most important of which will turn out to be receiving women at his court.

Berowne, Longaville, Dumaine

Three lords who have joined the King in his oath of scholarship. They fall in love with Rosaline, Maria, and Katherine, respectively.

Princess of France

This character never has a name other than "Princess." She pays a visit to the King of Navarre and, along with some of her attendants, plays a game of wits with the King and his lords.

Rosaline, Maria, Katherine

Three ladies attending the Princess who catch the fancy of the King's lords.


A lord attending on the Princess, he serves as a messenger to the King's court and exchanges jokes with the lords.

Don Armado

Described in the list of characters as "a fantastical Spaniard." He catches Costard and Jaquenetta in the forest and falls in love with Jaquenetta. Shakespeare uses Don Armado to mock the fallen glory of the Spanish Armada.


Don Armado's page.


He is described as "a clown," and therefore fills the role of the fool, a common character in many of Shakespeare's plays. Both Don Armado and Berowne ask him to deliver letters to their respective ladies, but Costard accidentally switches the letters.


A country wench caught with Costard by Don Armado.

Sir Nathaniel, Holofernes

A curate and schoolmaster, respectively. They serve the role of providing learned commentary on the letters of the other characters. They are also responsible for the masque of the Nine Worthies near the end of the play.


A constable, usually appearing with Sir Nathaniel and Holofernes. He provides a dull contrast to their scholarship.


Another lord attending on the Princess. His only appearance in the play comes when he arrives to tell the Princess that her father has died.