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The Two Noble Kinsmen (Folger Shakespeare Library)
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Top Customer Reviews
Where the Knight's Tale was primarily a story about chivalry, love, and spirituality, The Two Noble Kinsmen is very much about psychology and human emotions. Like other plays that Shakespeare wrote, this one shows how conflicting emotions create problems when we cannot master ourselves. In this case, the two loving cousins, Palamon and Arcite, fall out over having been overwhelmed by love for the appearance of Emilia, Duke Theseus's sister. The play explores many ways that their fatal passion for Emilia might be quenched or diverted into more useful paths. The dilemma can only be resolved by the removal of one of them. This places Emilia in an awkward situation where she will wed one, but at the cost of the life of the other. She finds them both attractive, and is deeply uncomfortable with their mutual passion for her. In a parallel subplot, the jailer's daughter similarly falls in love with Palamon, putting her father's life and her own in jeopardy. Overcome with unrequited love, she becomes mad from realizing what she has done. Only by entering into her delusions is she able to reach out to others.Read more ›
Synopsis: At a wedding celebration for Theseus, Duke of Athens, and his bride Hippolyta, three mourning queens urge Theseus to attack Creon, the King of Thebes, who slew their husbands and won’t grant the simple dignity of having their bodies interred. Theseus grants their request and a battle ensues. Fighting for Thebes are two bothers, a.k.a, “The Two Noble Kinsmen,” and identical twins at that, named Palamon and Arcite (pronounced “Ar-sight”). Valiant though they are, the brothers are soon captured by Theseus. From their prison window (Act II), they see Emilia, sister of Hippolyta; both are immediately and irrevocably smitten by her beauty. Arcite is released but banished from Athens. Lovesick, he risks death by remaining in Athens. He disguises himself and goes into service for Emilia. Meanwhile, the jailer’s daughter has fallen head-over-in-heels in love with Palamon and, risking death to herself and that of her father, helps him escape, only to go mad after losing him (Act III). The two noble kinsmen, driven to obsession over their love of Emilia, fight one another to determine who should have her. Emilia, on the other hand, cannot decide which of the two she truly loves. In fact, she cannot tell them apart.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"The Two Noble Kinsmen" (1613) was William Shakespeare's final play. After having completed his solo farewell to drama, "The Tempest," in 1611, Shakespeare went on to write three... Read morePublished on May 5, 2012 by Rodolfo Lazo de la Vega
I just want to cast my vote for the play: I love it. (I love the Knight's Tale, too). If you've ever known love to ruin a friendship, one of the other sex to come between you and... Read morePublished on March 3, 2011 by Jakujin
Last night I completed my 2010 goal of reading or re-reading all of Shakespeare last year by finishing this play. Read morePublished on January 1, 2011 by Alan Venable