Unformatted text preview: As with past presentations, you are responsible to prepare a close reading
(examining a poetic device, syntax, diction, elements of satire, allusion, etc.) of one
section of your choice. Before you conduct that close reading, you must summarize
the section to the best of your ability.
Duke Theseus returns from overthrowing Scythia (sigh-te-a) with his new wife,
Hippolyta (hip-pa-la-ta), and her sister, Emily. Outside Athens, he meets a band of
weeping women and learns that the tyrant (tie-rint) Creon (cre-in) has murdered
their husbands and dishonors the dead by leaving them unburied. Theseus goes and
overthrows Creon. After the fighting, his army finds two young knights (Palamon
and Arcite) and decides to take them as prisoners. Their prison cell is in a tower of
Theseus’s castle which overlooks the garden. Palamon wakes up one May morning
and sees from his cell window a beautiful young woman walking in the courtyard.
She is Emily, the sister of Theseus’s wife Hippolyta. He falls in love with her at
first sight. Arcite, hearing his love-sick moan, also wakes up and, seeing Emily
from the window, he also falls instantly in love with her. The two friends, now
rivals in love, begin to loathe each other. One day, Theseus’s friend Perotheus
pleads on Arcite’s behalf, because they are friends, to have him released from
prison on condition that he doesn’t return to Athens. He leaves Athens but then,
after two years in Thebes, he decides to come back in disguise to see Emily.
He also satirizes romance stories, by exaggerating the ups and downs and different
emotions. At one moment Arcite and Palamon are so happy to be in love with
Emily, at the next they turn depressed because they will never be with her, and
then next angry at the other for both being in love with her.
The author’s attitude suggests the idea that people may only fall in love with the
concept/idea of love; Arcite and Palamon don’t even know Emily, yet they claim
they are in love with her.
(pg 36) Arcite weeps and wails and moans and groans and feels super sorry for himself. He
curses that day he was born and that he ever met Perotheus. He's sure that being
banished from Athens is worse than being in prison. The tower prison was actually
paradise. He's even jealous of Palamon, because Palamon can still lay eyes on the
beautiful Emily. He curses fate. He feels like he was an idiot to wish ...
View Full Document