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Theatre / The Two Noble Kinsmen

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The Two Noble Kinsmen is a comedy widely held to be written by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher. It is adapted from a tale by Chaucer, and concerns the misadventures of two cousins, Palamon and Arcite, who are captured as prisoners of war. In jail, the two see the fair Emilia out of their cell window, and both fall madly in love with her, which leads to a bitter rivalry between the once inseparable cousins. Theseus, the lord who captured them, lets Arcite go while Palamon remains prisoner. But the jailer's daughter has fallen in love with Palamon and lets him go, hoping that that will convince him to love her back. Hilarity Ensues.


Tropes present in this work include:

  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Multiple times between Palamon and Arcite.
  • First Girl Wins: Really, First Guy Wins. Palamon claims "I saw her first" as justification for why he has more right to Emilia than Arcite does, and in the twist ending, his claim is vindicated.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: The doctor's proposed cures for the Jailer's Daughter's delusions are unorthodox to say the least.
  • Love Triangle: There's the main one of Emilia, Palamon, and Arcite, and there's also a secondary quadrangle of sorts with The Jailer's Daughter, Palamon, Emilia, and the Wooer.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Averted. Arcite dies from an injury unrelated to the battle between him and Palamon.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Palamon and Arcite.


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