ProvostWarden of the prison where Claudio is being held. In Act I, he conducts Claudio to jail. In Act II, he receives instructions from Angelo for Claudio's speedy execution. He spends much of the rest of the play helping the disguised Duke with his plan to save Claudio from death.JulietClaudio's fiancée who was impregnated by him and who, like him, is imprisoned by Angelo for fornication. Unlike Claudio, Juliet is not sentenced to death—probably because she is pregnant.Thomas (Friar Thomas)One of two friars in the play (Friar Peter is the other; Friar Lodowick is merely the Duke in disguise). The Duke reveals to Friar Thomas his plan to disguise himself as a monk so that he can secretly observe Angelo's enforcement of Vienna's laws.IsabellaClaudio's sister. She becomes a novice of the order of Saint Clare on the same day that her brother is arrested and condemned to death for fornication. When she begs Angelo to spare her brother, the deputy insists that she have sex with him in exchange for her brother's reprieve. She refuses and is horrified when her brother pleads with her to save his life by sleeping with Angelo. She participates in the Duke's scheme to unite Angelo with his jilted fiancée, Mariana. At the close of the play, the Duke asks Isabella to abandon the life of a nun in order to marry him.
Francisca (a nun)A nun at the convent which has accepted Isabella as a novice. She appears at the beginning of the play, instructing Isabella on the convent's rules and privileges.ElbowA constable. He arrests the bawd Pompey and the foolish gentleman Froth and brings them to Angelo and Escalus for judgment. Elbow is a comic figure who tends to speak in malapropisms.FrothA "foolish gentleman" who, along with the bawd Pompey, is arrested by Elbow at a brothel run by Mistress Overdone and brought before Angelo and Escalus for sentencing.ServantA retainer to Angelo. He announces the arrival of Isabella, who has come to plead with Angelo for her brother Claudio's life.MarianaAngelo's jilted fiancée. According to the Duke, Mariana and Angelo were engaged to be married until Mariana's brother, Frederick, was lost at sea along with his sister's dowry. Unwilling to marry Mariana without her dowry, Angelo nullified their engagement with the false excuse that Mariana was not a virgin. Mariana still loves Angelo in spite of his treachery, and she lives out her days secluded in a "moated grange."AbhorsonAn executioner at the prison where Claudio is being held.BarnardineA prisoner and hardened criminal at the jail where Claudio is being held. When the Duke arranges with the Provost to have Barnardine executed in place of Claudio, Barnardine insists that he is too drunk to die, and refuses to be executed. He is pardoned at the close of the play.