(1) The male lead, and
(2) His friend. The coupling
is deliberate. Dorimant and Young Bellair (Man of Mode), Horner
and Harcourt (Country Wife), Valentine and Scandal (Love
for Love), Belford jun. and Truman (Squire of Alsatia), Sir
George Airy and Charles (Busie Body), Don Henrique and Don Carlos
(Adventures of Five Hours), Young Jorden and Cleverwit (Citizen
Turn'd Gentleman), Colonels Careless and Blunt (Committee)
are all paired in this fashion. Very often both wind up married; sometimes
only the lead male does (Valentine), occassionally only the friend (Harcourt).
(3) The would-be friend,
occasionally just a rival (Sir Novelty Fashion in Love's Last Shift),
who is commonly witwoud butt, fop, or coward. (Sparkish in The Country
Wife, Sir Fopling in The Man of Mode, Tattle in Love for
(4) The heavy father. This
character is usually the blocking figure who creates the problem which
necessities action in the comedy--opposition to marriage, refusal to
give needed money. Jordan (Citizen Turn'd Gentleman), Sir William
Belford (Squire of Alsatia), Don Henrique--actually a brother
playing a father's role (Adventures), Old Bellair (Man of
Mode), Sir Sampson Legend (Love for Love), Sir Jealous Traffick
(5) The dolt or gull. Abel
Day (Committee), Belford sen. (Squire)
(6) The humour-butt. Generally
less purely a "dupe" figure than the preceding type. Obadiah (Committee),
Sir Simon Softhead (Citizen), Pinchwife and Sir Jaspar Fidget
(Country Wife), Foresight and Ben (Love for Love)--the
latter less of a butt than usual.
(7) The trickster. Often
a helper to the romantic lead, but not always (cf. Cheatly in Squire).
Cureal and Trickmore (Citizen), Jeremy (Love for Love)--this
last a "bright servant."
(8) The foolish servant.
Teg (Committee) is a lovable bungler. Jacques (Citizen)
and La Mar (Squire) are French valets, a popular subtype. Lolpoop
(Squire) is a country simpleton. Diego (Committee) becomes
a byword and prototype for the cowardly, amorous, amusing servant.
(9) Professional types: lawyer,
parson, doctor. Usually a bit part. Quack (Country Wife), Parson
(Squire), Trapland and Buckram (Love for Love). Tradesmen
and Justices of the Peace occasionally turn up in this sort of role.
(10) The hypocrite. The pious
puritan fraud is an especially popular form; the type is often combined
with no. 4 (heavy father) or no. 6 (humour-butt). Scrapeall (Squire)
is an instance of the former combination, Mr. Day (Committee)
is another; Alderman Gripe (Love in a Wood) is an example of
the latter combination.
(11) The Hector or Bully.
A bit part (Hackum in Squire).
(12) The lapsed or discontented
husband. Loveless (Love's Last Shift), Sir John Brute (The
Provok'd Wife), Sir Oliver Cockwood (She wou'd).
Robert D. The Development of English Drama in the Late 17th Century.
New York: Oxford, 1976.