The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux


Kate DiCamillo

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Tale of Despereaux can help.

The Tale of Despereaux Characters

Despereaux Tilling

The protagonist of the novel, Despereaux is a tiny mouse who lives in a castle. From the moment he’s born, Despereaux doesn’t fit in with his fellow mice: he’s the only baby in his litter… read analysis of Despereaux Tilling

Chiaroscuro “Roscuro”

Arguably one of the novel’s antagonists, Chiaroscuro (or Roscuro) is a rat who lives in the castle dungeons. Unlike most rats, which love pain, suffering, and darkness, Roscuro discovers early on that he craves lightread analysis of Chiaroscuro “Roscuro”

Miggery Sow “Mig”

Miggery Sow is a young girl who eventually becomes a castle servant and helps Roscuro carry out his plan to exact revenge on the Princess Pea. She’s not very intelligent, and for most of… read analysis of Miggery Sow “Mig”

The Princess Pea

The princess of Dor is King Phillip and Queen Rosemary’s daughter. She’s a beautiful girl who seems to radiate light, and this effect is amplified by the fact that she often wears glittery… read analysis of The Princess Pea

King Phillip

The king of Dor is the Princess Pea’s father and Queen Rosemary’s husband. Though he’s nearsighted and not the most intelligent ruler, his greatest quality is that he loves with all his heart… read analysis of King Phillip
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Queen Rosemary

Queen Rosemary was King Phillip’s wife and the Princess Pea’s mother until her death not long before Despereaux’s birth. She was a straightforward woman who loved her family most of all—and after… read analysis of Queen Rosemary

Lester Tilling

Lester is Despereaux’s father and Antoinette’s husband. He’s also a member of the Mouse Council, and he’s very concerned with ceremony, tradition, and making sure that all mice follow the rules of proper… read analysis of Lester Tilling

Antoinette Tilling

The French mouse Antoinette is Despereaux’s mother and Lester’s wife. She’s vain, dramatic, and the word “disappointing” is one of her favorite words. When Despereaux is the only living baby of his litter… read analysis of Antoinette Tilling

Furlough Tilling

Furlough is one of Despereaux’s older brothers. Like his father, Lester, Furlough is very interested in following the rules that guide mouse behavior. When Despereaux is little, this leads to Furlough going out… read analysis of Furlough Tilling

Merlot Tilling

Merlot is one of Despereaux’s older sisters. When Despereaux is little, she attempts to teach him how to nibble paper in the library. But like Lester and Furlough, Merlot believes that mice should… read analysis of Merlot Tilling

The Most Very Honored Head Mouse

The Most Very Honored Head Mouse is the head of the Mouse Council. He’s an old mouse whose job it is to make sure that all mice who live in the castle are following the… read analysis of The Most Very Honored Head Mouse

The Threadmaster/Hovis

The threadmaster, a mouse named Hovis, is the castle mouse with the ceremonial role of protecting the supposedly sacred spool of red thread and fastening red thread around condemned mice’s necks before they’re sent to… read analysis of The Threadmaster/Hovis


Gregory is the jailer in the castle dungeon—though he’s also a prisoner there. An old man who keeps himself from getting lost in the maze-like dungeon thanks to a rope tied around his ankle, Gregory… read analysis of Gregory

Botticelli Remorso

One of the novel’s main antagonists, Botticelli is an elderly rat who lives in the dungeon; he’s Roscuro’s best friend and mentor. He always carries a locket stolen from a prisoner, hung on a… read analysis of Botticelli Remorso

The Prisoner/Mig’s Father

Mig’s father sells her to a man called Uncle when Mig is only six years old; in exchange he gets a red tablecloth, a hen, and some cigarettes. Years later, he’s imprisoned in the… read analysis of The Prisoner/Mig’s Father


The head chef at the castle, Cook is a strict, difficult woman who’s known for her amazing soup recipes and her hatred of mice. She believes firmly in the healing and community-building power of soup… read analysis of Cook


Uncle is the man who purchases Mig from her father. He’s not her uncle, but he insists she call him “Uncle.” Uncle tasks Mig with cooking, cleaning, and looking after his sheep, and he… read analysis of Uncle
Minor Characters
Aunt Florence
One of Despereaux’s aunts, Florence is insistent throughout the novel that Despereaux is an aberration. She’s convinced he’ll die when he’s a sickly youngster, and she speaks out against his actions when it’s revealed that he allowed the Princess Pea to touch him.
Uncle Alfred
Despereaux’s Uncle Alfred looks down on his nephew, whom he sees as strange and mentally and physically unwell.
Louise is the head of the servants in King Phillip’s castle.
The Soldier
The soldier is in King Phillip’s employ; he takes soup-making implements and Mig away from Uncle and delivers Mig to the castle.