King Ferdinand – The King is the main perpetrator in the play for the strict rules imposed upon men in his court for the pursuit of knowledge. The King, like the other men of his court, becomes lost in love and does not know what to do about it. He falls in love with the Princess of France who later refuses his proposal until he follows the edicts he sets for himself and the men of his court.
Berowne – In the beginning, Berowne is the main person against the strictness of the rules for his study. He is also the first, however, that is shown to fall in love with the woman Rosaline. Berowne plays an important part because he is the only one to justify their love for the women and tie it into their studies.
Longaville – A lord who swears to the strictures and falls in love with Maria, one of the Princess’s Ladies.
Dumaine – One of the King’s men who falls in love with Katharine. He is the first to be caught in his love.
The Princess of France – Though references are made that she is not very beautiful, most likely because all of Shakespeare’s women were played by men, the Princess is shown to be exceptionally wise and good at hunting. She is the one who comes up with the plan to make a mockery of the men and their pursuits of knowledge. She is also the first to refuse her marriage proposal until a later date after the men prove themselves worthy.
Rosaline – One of the Princess’ ladies that Berowne falls in love with, and the only one to openly receive a letter, however misguided, from her lover.
Maria – One of the Princess’ women that Longaville falls in love with.
Katherine – One of the Princess’ women that Dumaine falls for.
Boyet – A lord who attends the Princess and helps with her plans at thwarting the men. He, at different points in the play, tries to woo the women himself.
Armando – A Spanish lord who attends the King’s court who is in charge of imprisoning a man for his activities with the woman Jaquenetta, even though he is in love with her as well. He makes a fool of himself with his ideas of love, and is helped by his page, Mote, in expressing his love.
Boy – Shown to have superior intellect, Mote is used by Shakespeare to poke fun at his master in love. He adds comedy and wit to the play with his ideas and side comments.
Costard, the Clown – A man who embraces his sexual desires towards women and is caught with the woman Jaquenetta. He later helps to put on the play for the Princess’ entertainment.
Jaquenetta – A peasant woman who caused Costard to be imprisoned, and who Armando falls in love with. She, unwittingly, is the downfall of Berowne because she delivers his letter to the King. She, like the other women in the play, does not believe that Armando can love her.
Dull, the Constable – He brings Costard to prison for his activities with Jaquenetta, and helps in the play to entertain the women. He also is one of the men who tells Jaquenetta to take her letter to the King.
Holofernes, the Pedant – He helps with the play The Nine Worthies and holds discussions on the Princess’ merits as a hunter with the constable, and the curate.
Nathaniel, the curate – helps with The Nine Worthies as well.