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The Two Noble Kinsmen
Act 2, scene 6

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Characters in the Play

Entire Play

The Two Noble Kinsmen, derived from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, begins as Athens defeats Thebes in war. Arcite and Palamon, Theban knights…

Prologue

The audience is welcomed to the play’s opening performance. The speaker apologizes for its inferiority to Chaucer, whose tale provides…

Act 1, scene 1

The wedding procession of Duke Theseus and his Amazonian bride Hippolyta is interrupted by three weeping queens whose dead kings…

Act 1, scene 2

Two noble cousins, Palamon and Arcite, discuss leaving Thebes, where the reign of their despised uncle Creon has corrupted the…

Act 1, scene 3

Pirithous leaves Athens to join Theseus in Thebes. Hippolyta and Emilia praise the strength of the bond between the two…

Act 1, scene 4

A victorious Theseus bids farewell to the three queens just as Palamon and Arcite are brought in wounded on stretchers….

Act 1, scene 5

The three queens take farewell of each other as the bodies of their dead husbands are carried off for separate…

Act 2, scene 1

The keeper of a jail in Athens discusses the terms of his daughter’s dowry with her wooer. The daughter enters…

Act 2, scene 2

Palamon and Arcite, after lamenting their prospect of lifelong imprisonment, rejoice that they are imprisoned together where nothing can ever…

Act 2, scene 3

Arcite decides he will not leave Athens and Emilia. Countrymen enter talking about their plans to dance at a May…

Act 2, scene 4

The jailer’s daughter, having fallen in love with Palamon, decides to find a way to free him from prison in…

Act 2, scene 5

Arcite, having won the competition disguised as a poor gentleman, is made an attendant upon Emilia. He and the other…

Act 2, scene 6

The jailer’s daughter, having set Palamon free and sent him off to await her in the woods, plans to bring…

Act 3, scene 1

Arcite, now Emilia’s attendant, is confronted by a still-shackled Palamon in the woods where the court is celebrating May Day….

Act 3, scene 2

The jailer’s daughter, unable to find Palamon, fearing that he has been eaten by wild animals and that her father…

Act 3, scene 3

Arcite brings Palamon food, wine, and files. He promises to return in two hours bringing swords and armor for their…

Act 3, scene 4

The jailer’s daughter, convinced that Palamon is dead and that her father will be hanged, begins to hallucinate.

Act 3, scene 5

The countrymen and the schoolmaster gather for the morris dance to be performed for Duke Theseus. When the countrywomen arrive,…

Act 3, scene 6

Arcite arrives in the forest with armor and swords. The two cousins dress each other in armor and prepare as…

Act 4, scene 1

The jailer receives the news that he and his daughter have been pardoned for Palamon’s escape, but that his daughter…

Act 4, scene 2

Emilia examines miniature portraits of Palamon and Arcite and is unable to choose between them. Theseus, hearing descriptions of the…

Act 4, scene 3

The jailer’s daughter is diagnosed by the doctor as suffering from love melancholy. He prescribes that the daughter’s wooer, who…

Act 5, scene 1

In preparation for the coming confrontation, Arcite and his companion knights pray for victory at the altar of Mars; Palamon…

Act 5, scene 2

The doctor observes the jailer’s daughter with the wooer pretending to be Palamon, and declares that she will soon be…

Act 5, scene 3

Emilia listens to the sounds of the combat as first one contestant and then the other seems to be winning….

Act 5, scene 4

As Palamon puts his head on the block for his beheading, word comes that Arcite has been crushed by his…

Epilogue

The speaker bids the audience farewell, hoping that the play has pleased them.

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Scene 6
Enter Jailer’s Daughter alone.

DAUGHTER 
 Let all the dukes and all the devils roar!
 He is at liberty. I have ventured for him,
 And out I have brought him; to a little wood
 A mile hence I have sent him, where a cedar
5 Higher than all the rest spreads like a plane
 Fast by a brook, and there he shall keep close
 Till I provide him files and food, for yet
 His iron bracelets are not off. O Love,
 What a stout-hearted child thou art! My father
10 Durst better have endured cold iron than done it.

97
The Two Noble Kinsmen
ACT 2. SC. 6

 I love him beyond love and beyond reason
 Or wit or safety. I have made him know it;
 I care not, I am desperate. If the law
 Find me and then condemn me for ’t, some wenches,
15 Some honest-hearted maids, will sing my dirge
 And tell to memory my death was noble,
 Dying almost a martyr. That way he takes
 I purpose is my way too. Sure he cannot
 Be so unmanly as to leave me here.
20 If he do, maids will not so easily
 Trust men again. And yet he has not thanked me
 For what I have done; no, not so much as kissed me,
 And that, methinks, is not so well; nor scarcely
 Could I persuade him to become a free man,
25 He made such scruples of the wrong he did
 To me and to my father. Yet I hope,
 When he considers more, this love of mine
 Will take more root within him. Let him do
 What he will with me, so he use me kindly;
30 For use me so he shall, or I’ll proclaim him,
 And to his face, no man. I’ll presently
 Provide him necessaries and pack my clothes up,
 And where there is a path of ground I’ll venture,
 So he be with me. By him like a shadow
35 I’ll ever dwell. Within this hour the hubbub
 Will be all o’er the prison. I am then
 Kissing the man they look for. Farewell, father!
 Get many more such prisoners and such daughters,
 And shortly you may keep yourself. Now to him.
She exits.