The protagonist of the play, Helen is strong-willed and clever. She is a remarkably active and powerful female character in a society where women are assumed to be weak and inferior to men. She takes… read analysis of Helen
Bertram can be seen as the antagonist of the play, as he abandons Helen and tries to prevent her from attaining her ultimate goal of marrying him and being in a relationship with him. However… read analysis of Bertram
The Countess of Rossillion
The mother of Bertram, who also essentially adopts Helen after her father’s death. She is kind and supportive to Helen, and is not upset when she learns of Helen’s love for her son. She… read analysis of The Countess of Rossillion
The King of France
The king of France is at the absolute top of the social hierarchy in the play, and is able to order others around, as when he compels Bertram to marry Helen against his will. Gravely… read analysis of The King of France
A friend of Bertram, Parolles is a deceitful, tricky character. Bertram trusts him early on in the play, even though Lafew and other French noblemen try to warn him that Parolles is a liar… read analysis of Parolles
A French nobleman and friend of both the king and the countess. He strongly dislikes Parolles and advises Bertram not to trust him. Later in the play, when Helen is supposedly dead, he tries… read analysis of Lafew
A young Florentine woman whom Bertram tries to seduce. Diana resists his advances, preferring to maintain her chastity, and then cooperates with Helen’s plan in pretending to agree to sleep with him in return for… read analysis of Diana
A steward serving the countess at Rossillion. In Act 1, he overhears Helen talking of her love for Bertram, and informs the countess about it.
The Duke of Florence
The leader of Florence, to whose aid numerous French noblemen and soldiers come, as Florence finds itself in a military feud with Siena.
Diana’s mother, who agrees to help Helen with her plot to trick Bertram, and is rewarded with gold by Helen for her assistance.
The widow of Diana’s neighbor, who is with the widow and Diana when they run into a disguised Helen. She warns Diana not to give into Bertram’s courting and to protect her virginity and chastity.