Every Man in His Humour

by

Ben Jonson

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Master Stephen Character Analysis

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 for books on hawking and hunting—two activities fashionable at the time. This annoys his uncle, who considers him a “wasteful” character. Towards the middle of the play, Stephen is tricked by Brainworm (disguised as Fitzsword) into buying a cheap and inferior sword. Stephen gets himself into trouble when he picks up Downright’s cloak, discarded after the latter’s brawl with Bobadil. When Bobadil and Matthew try to have Downright arrested, Downright notices that Stephen has stolen his cloak and drags him to Justice Clement too.

Master Stephen Quotes in Every Man in His Humour

The Every Man in His Humour quotes below are all either spoken by Master Stephen or refer to Master Stephen. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford University Press edition of Every Man in His Humour published in 2009.
Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

STEPHEN: Ay, truly, sir, I am mightily given to melancholy.

MATTHEW: Oh, it's your only fine humour, sir: your true melancholy breeds your perfect fine wit, sir. I am melancholy myself, divers times, sir, and then do I no more but take pen and paper presently, and overflow you half a score, or a dozen of sonnets at a sitting.

Related Characters: Master Stephen (speaker), Master Matthew (speaker), Edward Knowell, Wellbred
Related Symbols: Poetry
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

EDWARD: Ay, by his leave, he is, and under favour: a pretty piece of civility! Sirrah, how dost thou like him?

WELLBRED: Oh, it's a most precious fool, make much on him: I can compare him to nothing more happily than a drum; for every one may play upon him.

Related Characters: Edward Knowell (speaker), Wellbred (speaker), Brainworm, Master Stephen
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:
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Master Stephen Character Timeline in Every Man in His Humour

The timeline below shows where the character Master Stephen appears in Every Man in His Humour. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
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Parenthood Theme Icon
Master Stephen, Old Knowell’s dim-witted nephew from the countryside, comes in. Stephen asks if Edward Knowell has... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
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...he too is called “Edward,” to read the letter and check up on his son. Stephen almost gets in a fight with the servant over nothing before exiting. Old Knowell summons... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
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...letter to Edward, immediately and deliberately informing him that Old Knowell has read its contents. Stephen comes in, still annoyed about the servant earlier. Edward reads the letter, laughing heartily. Stephen... (full context)
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Edward explains to Stephen that there is no need for him to be “melancholy”—he was laughing at the letter,... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
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Just then, Edward and Stephen come by. Stephen is fretting about having lost his purse. Brainworm, sensing that he cannot... (full context)
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Gullibly, Stephen is convinced that the sword is a good one. Brainworm assures him it is a... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
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Edward enters with Stephen, greeting Wellbred warmly and calling him a “fine gallant” for his letter. Edward explains that... (full context)
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Stephen introduces himself to Wellbred, insisting that he is “mightily given to melancholy.” Matthew, not wanting... (full context)
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Stephen, excited by all the talk of swords, shows Bobadil his new purchase, claiming that it,... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
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Brainworm joins the group, still in disguise. Stephen confronts him angrily about the sword, with Edward and Wellbred finding this hilarious. Wellbred compares... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 5
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Wellbred, Edward, Brainworm, Bobadil, Matthew, and Stephen arrive. Edward and Wellbred are praising Brainworm for his skill as an “artificer.” They ask... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
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Bridget, Matthew, Bobadil, Wellbred, Stephen, Edward, and Brainworm all enter at Kitely’s house. Matthew intends to read some poetry to... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
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...the commotion. Wellbred blames it on “one of my brother’s ancient humours” and leaves, with Stephen, Bobadil, Matthew, Edward and Brainworm in tow. Downright rants about Wellbred, Bobadil, and Matthew. Bridget... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 7
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Matthew, Edward, Bobadil, and Stephen speak disparagingly about Downright. Bobadil states that, with what he taught Matthew earlier about fighting,... (full context)
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Downright leaves. Bobadil tries to excuse his cowardly behavior to Edward and Stephen by claiming he is bound by a “warrant of the peace” not to fight. Bobadil... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 11
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...a street. He tells them that he is on his way to arrest Downright. As Stephen comes in wearing Downright’s cloak, Brainworm puts him under arrest. (full context)
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Stephen protests his innocence; Bobadil points out that he is wearing the same cloak as Downright.... (full context)
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Downright asks for his cloak back. With Stephen refusing, Downright tells Brainworm to arrest him for being a thief. Stephen gives him the... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
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Downright, Brainworm, and Stephen enter. Old Knowell explains that Stephen is his nephew. Stephen says he has been falsely... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 5
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...and Matthew, who will have to “fast it out” for being “so false.” He tells Stephen to give Downright his cloak back. (full context)