He is also called Mr. Hard in the play. He is an old-fashioned character who loves everything old including an “old wife”. He is also at home with old stories of ancient wars. However, Mr. Hard is loving, hospitable and a truly forgiving character. It takes him nothing to forgive Young Marlow and Hasting for all their vulgarity. He is equally outspoken for he chides his wife for helping to spoil their stepson – Tony Lumpkins. He loves his old wife – Dorothy and his daughter, Kate. His love for Kate informs him to arrange for her marriage to Young Marlow, the son of his friend, Sir Charles Marlow. Hardcastle is happy when all the mistakes of a night are corrected.
Her name is Dorothy. A lover of fashion and adventure, she is always in disagreement with the husband who feels that, though old, Dorothy always thinks she is young. She always wants to go out on a picnic to town to see people and places. Mrs. Hardcastle lacks the guts to take proper care of her son, tony Lumnpkins. Tony is her only son by an earlier marriage to Mr. Lumpkins. If there is any character that is greedy and dubious, perhaps that character is Mrs. Hardcastle. She keeps costly jewels for Constance. Neville so that all the expensive jewelry will remain in her house. In all, when her dubious exploits fail to pay off, she turns out to be the only unhappy character in the end.
Of all the characters in the play, Tony is the most spoilt. A child of a broken marriage, he enjoys drinking, smoking and flirtation. My Tony Lumpkins actually loves idling at the three pigeons. It is at the three pigeons he deliberating misleads or misdirects Mr. Hardcastle’s guests – Young Marlow and George Hestings, telling them that Mr. Hardcastlr’s house is an inn. This leads the guests to think that Mr. Hardcastle is the innkeeper while Miss Kate, the girl to be betrothed by Young.
Marlow is the barmaid as well as Constance Neville, Hastings’ lover. Tony is not only spoilt, but he is also rude even to his own mother whom he challenges to a brawl. Even at the end of the play, he is unrepentant in his crooked ways.
MISS HARDCASTLE (KATE)
She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hardcostle. She is charming, honest, respectful and intelligent and a major character in the play. When her father suggests that he is expecting her would-be husband, she demands to know something about the prospective husband. She is told that the man in spite of his admirable qualities is bashful and reserved. This does not sink well in Kate’s mind because reserved husbands according to her are suspicious husbands. Kate is described by Young Marlow as “My angel” (pg. 54). Even Mr. Hardcastle is quick to point to his friend, Sir Charles Marlow that whenever marries his daughter will riot and regret the bargain. Kate Hardcastle is admired by all for her charm, simplicity, self-confidence, intelligence and respect.
An orphan in the play, she is left with enough wealth to inform of jewels. This keeps her at the house of Mrs. Hardcastle who tries to figure out a way to cheat her and take her expensive jewels. She is in love with George Hastings who plans to elope with her to France but cannot because she cannot leave her jewels behind. Neville is equally admirable and honest; she is also loving and charming and helps in her own way to resolve some of the numerous mistakes in the play.
He is the son of Sir Charles Marlow, a friend of the Hardcastles who comes to marry Kate. He is shrews because of his poor exposure. He is vulgar but when he realizes himself, he asks for pardon. Most of his crimes are caused by mistakes. However, he is a very honest character. He is assisted in most cases by his closest friend – George Hastings.