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Palamon and Arcite are imprisoned, but philosophically resign themselves to their fate. Their stoicism is instantly destroyed when from their prison window they see Princess Emilia, Hippolyta's sister. Both fall in love with her, and their friendship turns to bitter rivalry. Arcite is released after a relative intercedes on his behalf.

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He is banished from Athens, but he disguises himself, wins a local wrestling match, and is appointed as Emilia's bodyguard. Meanwhile, the jailer's daughter has fallen in love with Palamon and helps him escape. She follows him, but he ignores her: still obsessed with Emilia. He lives in the forest half-starved, where he meets Arcite.


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The two argue, but Arcite offers to bring Palamon food, drink and armaments so that they can meet in an equal fight over Emilia. The jailer's daughter, forsaken, has gone mad. She sings and babbles in the forest. She meets a troupe of local countrymen who want to perform a Morris dance before the king and queen. Local schoolmaster Gerald invites the mad daughter to join the performance. Theseus and Hippolyta appear, hunting. Gerald hails them, and they agree to watch the yokels perform a bizarre act for them, with the jailer's mad daughter dancing.

The royal couple reward them. Arcite returns with the food and weapons. After a convivial dinner with reminiscences, the two fight.

Shakespeare Review: Two Noble Kinsmen

Theseus and his entourage arrive on the scene. He orders that Palamon and Arcite be arrested and executed. Hippolyta and Emilia intervene, and so Theseus agrees to a public tournament between the two for Emilia's hand.

William Shakespeare

Each warrior will be allowed three companions to assist them. The loser and his companion knights will be executed. The jailer finds his daughter with the help of friends.

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The Two Noble Kinsmen

However, when the second Beaumont and Fletcher folio was published in an additional eighteen plays were included, The Two Noble Kinsmen being one of these. It was not included in a complete Shakespeare edition until The Pictorial Shakespeare and after that only appeared sporadically as a Shakespeare play in the nineteenth century. This situation slowly changed during the twentieth century to the result that it currently appears in all of the major modern collections of Shakespeare's works: the Oxford, Riverside, Arden, Norton, Cambridge, and Penguin editions, though curiously enough not the new Pelican Shakespeare.

Apparently this is primarily due to the poor sales of the Penguin edition of It is interesting to note that of all the single edition versions of the play in the twentieth century, only one, the Regents Renaissance Drama edition ed. Richard Proudfoot , bears both the names of Shakespeare and Fletcher on the edition's front cover. Last Edit: 7 years 8 months ago by William Shakespeare. The administrator has disabled public write access. Background information Two Noble Kinsmen 3 years 1 month ago My Shakespeare group will be reading this in three weeks, and these are some of my recent notes about the play.

That Quarto is the text upon which all later editions are based. It was also published in the Second Beaumont and Fletcher Folio Generally speaking, Will wrote the first and last acts, and the first scene of Act III, and Fletcher 15 years younger than him, and a much breezier and lighter writer wrote the rest.

There is a reference to Palamon, one of the TNK, in Ben Jonson's play "Bartholomew's Fair" , indicating that theater-goers at the time would have known the character. John Fletcher was an established writer of urban comedies and the company's principal playwright Will having retired at the time he worked with Will on this one.

The charming subplot involving the jailer's daughter appears to be Fletcher's creation. It's a crowd pleaser, and Fletcher handles it deftly. It is when he has to render the extended oaths, soliloquies, pleas and declarations that drive the main plot that his words sometimes seem like place-holders for the powerful poetry Shakespeare puts in the same characters' mouths elsewhere in the play.

Shakespeare's writing in this play is dark and complex, lyrical rather than dramatic, and often ceremonial.

The Two Noble Kinsmen (Penguin Shakespeare)

The contrast in styles is far more striking in this one than in the other collaborations we've read, Pericles and Timon, and is surely one of the reasons the play has rarely been performed. Both become rivals for Emilia's hand, incurring the wrath of Theseus. The action moves to the forest, where Palamon and Arcite prepare to duel over Emilia, only to be interrupted by Theseus, who delays the duel for one month, commanding that whoever wins the duel will marry Emilia, whilst the loser will be executed. On the day Arcite defeats Palamon, but is then crushed under his own horse. As he dies he bequeaths Emilia's hand to his cousin.

The play ends with their wedding ceremony. This edition is a product of the new scholarly respect for dramatic collaboration Like all Arden3 editions, Potter's is concerned both with early stagings and with the play's "afterlife" in later productions In her section on the text Potter follows other recent Arden editors in leading an inexperienced reader through the basic methods editors use to determine the status and history of a printed play Potter now takes a distinguished place [among] the long line of previous editors.

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