The Rivals


Richard Sheridan

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Captain Jack Absolute / Ensign Beverley

A confident, charming, and quick-witted Captain in the British army, Absolute is wooing the beautiful Lydia Languish. He tricks Lydia into believing that he is a poor ensign named Beverley in order to take… (read full character analysis)

Lydia Languish

A passionate, book-obsessed girl of seventeen, Lydia Languish is determined to defy both convention and the wishes of her aunt and guardian Mrs. Malaprop in her choice of a husband. She is a fabulously wealthy… (read full character analysis)

Mrs. Malaprop / Delia

Lydia Languish’s aunt and guardian, Mrs. Malaprop is a self-important and pretentious woman of around fifty, and the comedic heroine of the play. Her speech is garbled by malapropisms (ridiculous misuses of words), as… (read full character analysis)

Sir Anthony Absolute

A rich baronet with an extremely short fuse, prone to becoming furious at the slightest provocation and with a habit of making decisions hastily. Sir Anthony wants to secure his son Absolute a fortune that… (read full character analysis)

Julia Melville

The play’s moral core, Julia is as sensible as she is beautiful. An orphan, she is the ward of Sir Anthony, but was betrothed to Faulkland by her father before his death. Faulkland’s distrust… (read full character analysis)
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A moody and lovesick young man, Faulkland cannot believe his good fortune in being engaged to Julia and having her love, and constantly probes Julia to find out whether her love for him is real… (read full character analysis)

Squire Bob Acres

An impressionable and naïve country landowner, Acres is attempting to make himself more fashionable and sophisticated in order to win over the affections of Lydia Languish. His attempts to swear genteelly, learn French dances… (read full character analysis)

Sir Lucius O’Trigger

An Irish baronet who has lost his land and home, but prizes his valor in duels and family honor above all else, Sir Lucius is carrying on a secret correspondence with “Delia.” He is encouraged… (read full character analysis)


A maid in the household of Mrs. Malaprop and Lydia, Lucy is a master manipulator. Charged with carrying letters between different courting pairs, Lucy pretends to be simpleminded in order to gain the trust… (read full character analysis)


The servant to Acres, David has a provincial boy’s understanding of the world and sees the manor where he lives with Acres as the center of the world. He is treated by Acres a… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Absolute’s servant, Fag has pretentions to being a sophisticated and world-wise man. He speaks pompously to his social superiors and talks down to other servants. He delights in knowing the secrets of Absolute’s tricks and deceptions and is fiercely loyal to Absolute.
A straightforward and goodhearted man, Thomas serves as Sir Anthony’s servant.