Every Man in His Humour


Ben Jonson

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Every Man in His Humour Characters

Edward Knowell

Edward Knowell is a young man and son of Old Knowell. He is deeply invested in his education but, to his father’s disapproval, also has a penchant for “idle poetry.” He is a… read analysis of Edward Knowell


Brainworm is servant to Old Knowell and Edward Knowell but allies more with his younger master. His function in the plot is as a master of disguise and deception, which he uses to help Edward… read analysis of Brainworm

Old Knowell

Old Knowell is an old gentleman, Edward’s father and Brainworm’s master. He is an overbearing parent, worrying about Edward’s interest in “idle poetry” and the company that he keeps (young gallants such… read analysis of Old Knowell

Master Stephen

Stephen is a young “country gull,” the nephew of Old Knowell and the cousin of Edward Knowell. Stephen is foolish and obedient, desperate to fit in. His first appearance sees him asking Old Knowell… read analysis of Master Stephen


Wellbred is a roguish young gallant with a taste for mischief. He is Downright’s half-brother, and deliberately causes much of the confusion that runs throughout the play (e.g. Kitely and Dame Kitely’s corresponding… read analysis of Wellbred
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Downright is a no-nonsense squire with a fiery temper, and Wellbred’s half-brother. He frequently rubs people up the wrong way and lacks tact, resulting in his feud with Captain Bobadil and Master Matthewread analysis of Downright

Master Matthew

Matthew is described as a “town gull”—that is, he is a foolish young urbanite. He is a poetaster—someone who writes inferior poetry—and is particularly given to passing off other people’s verse as his own… read analysis of Master Matthew

Captain Bobadil

Bobadil is a braggart soldier who lodges at Cob’s house. He is extremely boastful, talking constantly about his exploits in this war or that. He takes on Matthew as a protégé, teaching him his… read analysis of Captain Bobadil


Kitely is a cloth merchant, married to Dame Kitely and brother of Mistress Bridget. He is also the unfortunate landlord of Wellbred, increasingly upset by the latter’s behavior and the company that he… read analysis of Kitely

Dame Kitely

Dame Kitely is Kitely’s wife. Just like her husband, she is tricked by Wellbred into rushing to Cob’s house, expecting to find Kitely committing adultery (while he thinks that she is the one… read analysis of Dame Kitely

Mistress Bridget

Bridget is Kitely’s attractive and virginal sister. She doesn’t get many lines in the play, functioning mainly as an object of attraction for Master Matthew and Edward Knowell. She is attracted to Edward… read analysis of Mistress Bridget


Cash is Kitely’s business assistant. According to Kitely, Cash was taken in by his master at a young age. He serves as a go-between, initially for business matters but in the main for Kitely’s… read analysis of Cash


Cob is a working-class waterbearer—a man who delivers water from house to house. Captain Bobadil beats him for complaining about his tobacco smoke, causing Cob to seek a warrant for Bobadil’s arrest. Clement, a… read analysis of Cob

Justice Clement

Justice Clement is a rambunctious old man who acts as the play’s legal authority. His most important role is at the end of the play, in which he draws proceedings to a relatively forced resolution… read analysis of Justice Clement

Roger Formal

Roger Formal is Justice Clement’s clerk and assistant, tasked with fulfilling his boss’s administrative requirements. Late in the play, he is intrigued by Brainworm’s alter-ego, Fitzsword, and goes out to drink wine with… read analysis of Roger Formal
Minor Characters
Tib is Cob’s wife. She is wrongly characterized as a bawd (a woman who runs a brothel) by Wellbred, causing Cob to beat her. By the play’s end, Justice Clement gets Tib and Cob to resolve their differences.