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David: David is the legendary young shepherd boy who becomes King of Israel upon the death of Saul. Though a young man throughout the play, David is still able to show the markings of a true prince: an inspiring leader both on and off the battlefield, an ability to be cunning and crafty as the situation requires yet, at the same time, in full possession of the poetís vision and sensitivity. As a result of his highly complex often contradictory nature, he is able to near simultaneously bring out the best in Jonathan and the worst in Saul even though he never wavers in the slightest in his love for both men. As the play progresses we should see an increasing self-confidence almost cockiness in David. After all, he knows he has been anointed by the prophet Samuel and has thus been chosen to eventually rule as King of Israel.

Saul: As the play begins Saul is anointed by the prophet Samuel to be King of Israel. Saul, however, disobeyed Godís command thus resulting in Samuelís withdrawal of support. From that point on "an evil spirit from the Lord terrified him." Saul, therefore, should display all the markings of a man slowly but steadily going mad: gross impatience, fits of jealous rage, and most importantly, a creeping paranoia which parenthetically is not wholly unjustified given Davidís success in battle and his increasing popularity among the townspeople. Eventually he goes in hot pursuit of David but which only results in his own self-destruction. His physical destruction, however, should be seen as nothing when viewed in light of his near total mental and spiritual dissolution.

Jonathan: Jonathan is Saulís son. Although a prince by birth he is never able to exude the markings of a true prince, most likely due to his living in the shadow of his exuberant father. As a result, he is mocked and ridiculed by those around him which he as much confesses in his song "They Call Me a Prince." For him David represents what he wishes he could be but canít. His decision therefore to remain with Saul and not join David in exile is done with great anguish. And though he joins in the pursuit of David, he hopes only for death in order to "unite with David for all eternity." It would of course be easy to portray Jonathan as a weak, indecisive young man lacking all self-confidence. However, a careful reading of both scripture and commentary presents us a picture of a sad, sensitive soul never able to forge his own personality and who possessed to the end a great (unfulfilled) capacity to love.