Comus Characters

Comus Character List

The attendant Spirit

A heaven-sent spirit with shapeshifting powers, he is tasked by Jove to protect the Lady and her brothers on their journey through the woods, appearing to the characters mostly to offer advice and direction. He does so often through the guise of Thyrsis, one of the family's shepherds (and an allusion to a character in classical poetry). Although otherwise reluctant to return to Earth, which he likens to an animal pen, he believes that it is worth it to protect those who are truly virtuous. He ends the play by summoning Sabrina to release the Lady from Comus's curse and bringing the Children home.

Comus

The masque's titular character and antagonist. Comus is a sorcerer, and the offspring of the Pagan God Bacchus and the nymph Circe. As such, Comus embodies temptation and sin. He has the power to corrupt others by tricking them into drinking a potion which transforms its victims into Comus's animal-like followers who flank him throughout the story. When he spies the Lady walking alone in the woods, he believes he can mislead her in a similar fashion- but the same chastity that attracted Comus to her also prevents him from transforming her like the others in his court, and he is dispatched by her brothers. The character of Comus bears a striking resemblance to Milton's Satan as he appears in Paradise Lost and Paradise Regain'd.

The Lady

The Lady is a member of the royal family and endowed with an almost supernatural protection because of her chastity, even allowing her to see the invisible attendant Spirit. While traveling to her father's house, she gets separated from her brothers and is discovered by Comus. Her purity entices Comus and he challenges himself to corrupt her and make her sin. Comus deceives her into following the sorcerer to his palace and restraining her to the throne. Despite Comus’s efforts, the Lady remains virtuous and refuses to give in to her desires. The rejection of Comus's drink symbolically reflects the Lady's rejection of courtly delights and the family's focus on benevolent government.

The Elder Brother

The Lady's brothers initially accompany her to their father's house when they get lost looking for food. The Elder Brother makes classical allusions and teaches his younger brother about the true power of chastity when he becomes worried, coming across as confident and knowledgeable. When the pair encounters the attendant Spirit, the Elder Brother suggests they arm themselves to take on Comus, an idea shot down by the Spirit as impractical. Yet, the storming of Comus's palace more closely resembles the Elder Brother's plan, as the two are still armed with swords and not "sneaking in" as the spirit suggested - perhaps suggesting the Elder Brother still needs to control his temper and listen trust his superiors.

The Second Brother

The Second, or younger brother, acts as the foil to his Elder. He is quick to doubt and fear, is often wrong or ignorant, and is the quieter one of the two. As such, he acts as an audience surrogate; as he learns about Chastity and Philosophy, so does the audience. Outside of identifying the attendant Spirit as Thyrsis, he acts in conjunction with his brother in searching for their sister and rescuing her at Comus's palace.

Sabrina

Sabrina is a nymph native to the area summoned by the attendant Spirit to undo Comus's curse. Much like the Lady, Sabrina is described as gentle, innocent, and chaste. The attendant spirit introduces her as a mortal with a tragic past transformed into a river nymph, claiming she is sympathetic to the plight of other chaste women. She responds to the Spirit's song and sprinkles blessed water the Lady's breast, fingers, lips, and chair, and as the Lady rises unrestrained from her seat, Sabrina disappears.

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