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Theatre History Plays

Agamemnon by Aeschylus:
Agamemnon begins with a Watchman on duty on the roof of the palace at Argos, waiting
for a signal announcing the fall of Troy to the Greek armies. A beacon flashes, and he
joyfully runs to tell the news to Queen Clytemnestra. When he is gone, the Chorus, made
up of the old men of Argos, enters and tells the story of how the Trojan Prince Paris stole
Helen, the wife of the Greek king Menelaus, leading to ten years of war between Greece
and Troy. Then the Chorus recalls how Clytemnestra's husband Agamemnon (Menelaus'
brother) sacrificed their daughter Iphigenia to the god Artemis to obtain a favorable wind
for the Greek fleet.
The Queen appears, and the Chorus asks her why she has ordered sacrifices of
thanksgiving. She tells them that a system of beacons has brought word that Troy fell the
previous night. The Chorus give thanks to the gods, but wonder if her news is true; a
Herald appears and confirms the tidings, describing the army's sufferings at Troy and
giving thanks for a safe homecoming. Clytemnestra sends him back to Agamemnon, to
tell her husband to come swiftly, but before he departs, the Chorus asks him for news of
Menelaus. The Herald replies that a terrible storm seized the Greek fleet on the way
home, leaving Menelaus and many others missing.
The Chorus sings of the terrible destructive power of Helen's beauty. Agamemnon enters,
riding in his chariot with Cassandra, a Trojan Princess whom he has taken as his slave
and concubine. Clytemnestra welcomes him, professing her love, and orders a carpet of
purple robes spread in front of him as he enters the palace. Agamemnon acts coldly
toward her, and says that to walk on the carpet would be an act of hubris, or dangerous
pride; she badgers him into walking on the robes, however, and he enters the palace.
The Chorus expresses a sense of foreboding, and Clytemnestra comes outside to order
Cassandra inside. The Trojan Princess is silent, and the Queen leaves her in frustration.
Then Cassandra begins to speak, uttering incoherent prophecies about a curse on the
house of Agamemnon. She tells the Chorus that they will see their king dead, says that
she will die as well, and then predicts that an avenger will come. After these bold
predictions, she seems resigned to her fate, and enters the house. The Chorus' fears grow,
and they hear Agamemnon cry out in pain from inside. As they debate what to do, the
doors open, and Clytemnestra appears, standing over the corpses of her husband and
Cassandra. She declares that she has killed him to avenge Iphigenia, and then is joined by
her lover Aegisthus, Agamemnon's cousin, whose brothers were cooked and served to
Aegisthus' father by Agamemnon's father. They take over the government, and the Chorus
declares that Clytemnestra's son Orestes will return from exile to avenge his father.

Agamemnon - The King of Argos, the husband of Clytemnestra, and the commander of
the Greek armies during the siege of Troy. Agamemnon is the older brother of Menelaus,
whose wife Helen was stolen by a Trojan prince, thus igniting a decade-long war. A great
warrior, he sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia in order to obtain a favorable wind to carry
the Greek fleet to Troy. During the ten-year conflict, his Queen has plotted his death in
order to avenge the killing of their daughter. He appears on stage only briefly, and
behaves arrogantly. He goes to his death unaware of his fate.
Clytemnestra - The play's protagonist, Clytemnestra is Agamemnon's wife and has ruled
Argos in his absence. She plans his murder with ruthless determination, and feels no guilt
after his death; she is convinced of her own rectitude and of the justice of killing the man
who killed her daughter. She is, a sympathetic character in many respects, but the
righteousness of her crime is tainted by her entanglement with Aegisthus. Even so,
Aeschylus makes it clear that Agamemnon's death must be avenged.
Chorus - The elder citizens of Argos, who were too old to fight in the Trojan War. They
serve as advisors to Queen Clytemnestra during Agamemnon's absence, and provide
commentary on the action of the play. Their speeches provide the background for the
action, for they foreshadow the King's death when they describe the events of the Trojan
War and discuss the dangers of human pride.
Cassandra - A Trojan priestess, captured by Agamemnon and carried to Argos as his
slave and mistress. She was Apollo's lover. Apollo gave her the gift of prophecy, but
when she refused to bear him a child, he punished her by making all around her
disbelieve her predictions. She sees the ancestral curse afflicting Agamemnon's family,
and predicts both his death and her own, as well as the vengeance brought by Orestes in
the next play.
Aegisthus - Agamemnon's cousin, and Clytemnestra's lover. His father and
Agamemnon's father were rivals for the throne. Agamemnon's father boiled two of his
rival's children--Aegisthus' brothers--and served them to him for dinner. Since that time,
Aegisthus has been in exile awaiting a chance to seek revenge for the terrible crime.
The Watchman - The man assigned to watch for the signal of Troy's fall from the roof
of the palace. He is joyful at his king's return, but also is gripped with a sense of
foreboding.
The Herald - He brings the Chorus news of Agamemnon's safe homecoming. An ardent
patriot, he is ecstatic to see the home he thought he had left forever and provides vivid
descriptions of the horrors of the war against Troy.
Oedipus the King by Sophocles
A plague has stricken Thebes. The citizens gather outside the palace of their king,
Oedipus, asking him to take action. Oedipus replies that he already sent his brother-inlaw, Creon, to the oracle at Delphi to learn how to help the city. Creon returns with a
message from the oracle: the plague will end when the murderer of Laius, former king of
Thebes, is caught and expelled; the murderer is within the city. Oedipus questions Creon
about the murder of Laius, who was killed by thieves on his way to consult an oracle.
Only one of his fellow travelers escaped alive. Oedipus promises to solve the mystery of
Laiuss death, vowing to curse and drive out the murderer.

Oedipus sends for Tiresias, the blind prophet, and asks him what he knows about the
murder. Tiresias responds cryptically, lamenting his ability to see the truth when the truth
brings nothing but pain. At first he refuses to tell Oedipus what he knows. Oedipus curses
and insults the old man, going so far as to accuse him of the murder. These taunts
provoke Tiresias into revealing that Oedipus himself is the murderer. Oedipus naturally
refuses to believe Tiresiass accusation. He accuses Creon and Tiresias of conspiring
against his life, and charges Tiresias with insanity. He asks why Tiresias did nothing
when Thebes suffered under a plague once before. At that time, a Sphinx held the city
captive and refused to leave until someone answered her riddle. Oedipus brags that he
alone was able to solve the puzzle. Tiresias defends his skills as a prophet, noting that
Oedipuss parents found him trustworthy. At this mention of his parents, Oedipus, who
grew up in the distant city of Corinth, asks how Tiresias knew his parents. But Tiresias
answers enigmatically. Then, before leaving the stage, Tiresias puts forth one last riddle,
saying that the murderer of Laius will turn out to be both father and brother to his own
children, and the son of his own wife.
After Tiresias leaves, Oedipus threatens Creon with death or exile for conspiring with the
prophet. Oedipuss wife, Jocasta (also the widow of King Laius), enters and asks why the
men shout at one another. Oedipus explains to Jocasta that the prophet has charged him
with Laiuss murder, and Jocasta replies that all prophecies are false. As proof, she notes
that the Delphic oracle once told Laius he would be murdered by his son, when in fact his
son was cast out of Thebes as a baby, and Laius was murdered by a band of thieves. Her
description of Laiuss murder, however, sounds familiar to Oedipus, and he asks further
questions. Jocasta tells him that Laius was killed at a three-way crossroads, just before
Oedipus arrived in Thebes. Oedipus, stunned, tells his wife that he may be the one who
murdered Laius. He tells Jocasta that, long ago, when he was the prince of Corinth, he
overheard someone mention at a banquet that he was not really the son of the king and
queen. He therefore traveled to the oracle of Delphi, who did not answer him but did tell
him he would murder his father and sleep with his mother. Hearing this, Oedipus fled his
home, never to return. It was then, on the journey that would take him to Thebes, that
Oedipus was confronted and harassed by a group of travelers, whom he killed in selfdefense. This skirmish occurred at the very crossroads where Laius was killed.
Oedipus sends for the man who survived the attack, a shepherd, in the hope that he will
not be identified as the murderer. Outside the palace, a messenger approaches Jocasta and
tells her that he has come from Corinth to inform Oedipus that his father, Polybus, is
dead, and that Corinth has asked Oedipus to come and rule there in his place. Jocasta
rejoices, convinced that Polybuss death from natural causes has disproved the prophecy
that Oedipus would murder his father. At Jocastas summons, Oedipus comes outside,
hears the news, and rejoices with her. He now feels much more inclined to agree with the
queen in deeming prophecies worthless and viewing chance as the principle governing
the world. But while Oedipus finds great comfort in the fact that one-half of the prophecy
has been disproved, he still fears the other halfthe half that claimed he would sleep
with his mother.

The messenger remarks that Oedipus need not worry, because Polybus and his wife,
Merope, are not Oedipuss biological parents. The messenger, a shepherd by profession,
knows firsthand that Oedipus came to Corinth as an orphan. One day long ago, he was
tending his sheep when another shepherd approached him carrying a baby, its ankles
pinned together. The messenger took the baby to the royal family of Corinth, and they
raised him as their own. That baby was Oedipus. Oedipus asks who the other shepherd
was, and the messenger answers that he was a servant of Laius.
Oedipus asks that this shepherd be brought forth to testify, but Jocasta, beginning to
suspect the truth, begs her husband not to seek more information. She runs back into the
palace. The shepherd then enters. Oedipus interrogates him, asking who gave him the
baby. The shepherd refuses to disclose anything, and Oedipus threatens him with torture.
Finally, he answers that the child came from the house of Laius. Questioned further, he
answers that the baby was in fact the child of Laius himself, and that it was Jocasta who
gave him the infant, ordering him to kill it, as it had been prophesied that the child would
kill his parents. But the shepherd pitied the child, and decided that the prophecy could be
avoided just as well if the child were to grow up in a foreign city, far from his true
parents. The shepherd therefore passed the boy on to the shepherd in Corinth.
Realizing who he is and who his parents are, Oedipus screams that he sees the truth and
flees back into the palace. The shepherd and the messenger slowly exit the stage. A
second messenger enters and describes scenes of suffering. Jocasta has hanged herself,
and Oedipus, finding her dead, has pulled the pins from her robe and stabbed out his own
eyes. Oedipus now emerges from the palace, bleeding and begging to be exiled. He asks
Creon to send him away from Thebes and to look after his daughters, Antigone and
Ismene. Creon, covetous of royal power, is all too happy to oblige.
Characters:
Oedipus - The protagonist of Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus. Oedipus
becomes king of Thebes before the action ofOedipus the King begins. He is renowned for
his intelligence and his ability to solve riddleshe saved the city of Thebes and was
made its king by solving the riddle of the Sphinx, the supernatural being that had held the
city captive. Yet Oedipus is stubbornly blind to the truth about himself. His names literal
meaning (swollen foot) is the clue to his identityhe was taken from the house of
Laius as a baby and left in the mountains with his feet bound together. On his way to
Thebes, he killed his biological father, not knowing who he was, and proceeded to marry
Jocasta, his biological mother.
Read an in-depth analysis of Oedipus.
Jocasta - Oedipuss wife and mother, and Creons sister. Jocasta appears only in the final
scenes of Oedipus the King. In her first words, she attempts to make peace between
Oedipus and Creon, pleading with Oedipus not to banish Creon. She is comforting to her
husband and calmly tries to urge him to reject Tiresiass terrifying prophecies as false.
Jocasta solves the riddle of Oedipuss identity before Oedipus does, and she expresses her
love for her son and husband in her desire to protect him from this knowledge.

Antigone - Child of Oedipus and Jocasta, and therefore both Oedipuss daughter and his
sister. Antigone appears briefly at the end of Oedipus the King, when she says goodbye to
her father as Creon prepares to banish Oedipus. She appears at greater length in Oedipus
at Colonus, leading and caring for her old, blind father in his exile. But Antigone comes
into her own inAntigone. As that plays protagonist, she demonstrates a courage and
clarity of sight unparalleled by any other character in the three Theban plays. Whereas
other charactersOedipus, Creon, Polynicesare reluctant to acknowledge the
consequences of their actions, Antigone is unabashed in her conviction that she has done
right.
Read an in-depth analysis of Antigone.
Creon - Oedipuss brother-in-law, Creon appears more than any other character in the
three plays combined. In him more than anyone else we see the gradual rise and fall of
one mans power. Early in Oedipus the King, Creon claims to have no desire for kingship.
Yet, when he has the opportunity to grasp power at the end of that play, Creon seems
quite eager. We learn in Oedipus at Colonus that he is willing to fight with his nephews
for this power, and in Antigone Creon rules Thebes with a stubborn blindness that is
similar to Oedipuss rule. But Creon never has our sympathy in the way Oedipus does,
because he is bossy and bureaucratic, intent on asserting his own authority.
Read an in-depth analysis of Creon.
Polynices - Son of Oedipus, and thus also his brother. Polynices appears only very
briefly in Oedipus at Colonus. He arrives at Colonus seeking his fathers blessing in his
battle with his brother, Eteocles, for power in Thebes. Polynices tries to point out the
similarity between his own situation and that of Oedipus, but his words seem
opportunistic rather than filial, a fact that Oedipus points out.
Tiresias - Tiresias, the blind soothsayer of Thebes, appears in both Oedipus the
King and Antigone. In Oedipus the King,Tiresias tells Oedipus that he is the murderer he
hunts, and Oedipus does not believe him. In Antigone, Tiresias tells Creon that Creon
himself is bringing disaster upon Thebes, and Creon does not believe him. Yet, both
Oedipus and Creon claim to trust Tiresias deeply. The literal blindness of the soothsayer
points to the metaphorical blindness of those who refuse to believe the truth about
themselves when they hear it spoken.
Haemon - Creons son, who appears only in Antigone. Haemon is engaged to marry
Antigone. Motivated by his love for her, he argues with Creon about the latters decision
to punish her.
Ismene - Oedipuss daughter Ismene appears at the end ofOedipus the King and to a
limited extent in Oedipus at Colonusand Antigone. Ismenes minor part underscores her
sisters grandeur and courage. Ismene fears helping Antigone bury Polynices but offers to
die beside Antigone when Creon sentences her to die. Antigone, however, refuses to
allow her sister to be martyred for something she did not have the courage to stand up for.
Theseus - The king of Athens in Oedipus at Colonus. A renowned and powerful warrior,
Theseus takes pity on Oedipus and defends him against Creon. Theseus is the only one
who knows the spot at which Oedipus descended to the underworlda secret he
promises Oedipus he will hold forever.
Chorus - Sometimes comically obtuse or fickle, sometimes perceptive, sometimes
melodramatic, the Chorus reacts to the events onstage. The Choruss reactions can be

lessons in how the audience should interpret what it is seeing, or how it should not
interpret what it is seeing.
Read an in-depth analysis of Chorus.
Eurydice - Creons wife.

MEDEA
Euripides
Euripedes' Medea opens in a state of conflict. Jason has abandoned his wife, Medea,
along with their two children. He hopes to advance his station by remarrying with
Glauce, the daughter of Creon, king of Corinth, the Greek city where the play is set.
All the events of play proceed out of this initial dilemma, and the involved parties
become its central characters.
Outside the royal palace, a nurse laments the events that have lead to the present crisis.
After a long series of trials and adventures, which ultimately forced Jason and Medea to
seek exile in Corinth, the pair had settled down and established their family, achieving a
degree of fame and respectability. Jason's recent abandonment of that family has crushed
Medea emotionally, to the degree that she curses her own existence, as well as that of her
two children.
Fearing a possible plot of revenge, Creon banishes Medea and her children from the city.
After pleading for mercy, Medea is granted one day before she must leave, during which
she plans to complete her quest for "justice"--at this stage in her thinking, the murder of
Creon, Glauce, and Jason. Jason accuses Medea of overreacting. By voicing her
grievances so publicly, she has endangered her life and that of their children. He claims
that his decision to remarry was in everyone's best interest. Medea finds him spineless,
and she refuses to accept his token offers of help.
Appearing by chance in Corinth, Aegeus, King of Athens, offers Medea sanctuary in his
home city in exchange for her knowledge of certain drugs that can cure his sterility. Now
guaranteed an eventual haven in Athens, Medea has cleared all obstacles to completing
her revenge, a plan which grows to include the murder of her own children; the pain their
loss will cause her does not outweigh the satisfaction she will feel in making Jason suffer.
For the balance of the play, Medea engages in a ruse; she pretends to sympathize with
Jason (bringing him into her confidence) and offers his wife "gifts," a coronet and dress.
Ostensibly, the gifts are meant to convince Glauce to ask her father to allow the children
to stay in Corinth. The coronet and dress are actually poisoned, however, and their
delivery causes Glauce's death. Seeing his daughter ravaged by the poison, Creon chooses
to die by her side by dramatically embracing her and absorbing the poison himself.
A messenger recounts the gruesome details of these deaths, which Medea absorbs with
cool attentiveness. Her earlier state of anxiety, which intensified as she struggled with the
decision to commit infanticide, has now given way to an assured determination to fulfill

her plans. Against the protests of the chorus, Medea murders her children and flees the
scene in a dragon-pulled chariot provided by her grandfather, the Sun-God. Jason is left
cursing his lot; his hope of advancing his station by abandoning Medea and marrying
Glauce, the conflict which opened the play, has been annihilated, and everything he
values has been lost through the deaths that conclude the tragedy.
Characters:
Medea - Protagonist of the play, Medea's homeland is Colchis, an island in the Black
Sea, which the Greeks considered the edge of the earth--a territory of barbarians. A
sorceress and a princess, she used her powers and influence to help Jason secure the
Golden Fleece; then, having fallen in love with him, she fled her country and family to
live with Jason in Iolcus, his own home. During the escape across the Mediterranean, she
killed her brother and dumped him overboard, so that her pursuers would have to slow
down and bury him. While in Iolcus, she again used her devilish cleverness to manipulate
the daughters of the local king and rival, Pelias, into murdering their own father. Exiled
as murderers, Jason and Medea settled in Corinth, the setting of Euripides' play, where
they established a family of two children and gained a favorable reputation. All this
precedes the action of the play, which opens with Jason having divorced Medea and taken
up with a new family. The play charts Medea's emotional transformation, a progression
from suicidal despair to sadistic fury. She eventually avenges Jason's betrayal with a
series of murders, concluding with the deaths of her own children. Famously, the pleasure
of watching Jason suffer their loss outweighed her own remorse at killing them.
Jason - Jason can be considered the play's villain, though his evil stems more from
weakness than strength. A former adventurer, he abandons his wife, Medea, in order to
marry Glauce, the beautiful young daughter of Creon, King of Corinth. Hoping to
advance his station through this second marriage, he only fuels Medea to a revenge that
includes the deaths of his new bride, her father, and his children. Jason's tactless selfinterest and whiny rationalizations of his own actions make him a weak, unsympathetic
character.
Children - The offspring of Jason and Medea, the children are presented as nave and
oblivious to the intrigue that surrounds them. Medea uses them as pawns in the murder of
Glauce and Creon, and then kills them in the play's culminating horror. Their innocent
deaths provide the greatest element of pathos--the tragic emotion of pity--in the play.
Chorus - Composed of the women of Corinth, the chorus chiefly serves as a
commentator to the action, although it occasionally engages directly in the dialogue. The
chorus members fully sympathize with Medea's plight, excepting her eventual decision to
murder her own children.
Creon - The King of Corinth, Creon banishes Medea from the city. Although a minor
character, Creon's suicidal embrace of his dying daughter provides one of the play's most
dramatic moments, and his sentence against Medea lends an urgency to her plans for
revenge.
Glauce - Daughter of Creon, Glauce is the young, beautiful princess for whom Jason
abandons Medea. Her acceptance of the poisoned coronet and dress as "gifts" leads to the
first murder of the play. Although she never utters a word, Glauce's presence is constantly
felt as an object of Medea's jealousy. (Glauce is also referred to as Creusa.)

Aegeus - The King of Athens, Aegeus passes through Corinth after having visited the
Oracle at Delphi, where he sought a cure for his sterility. Medea offers him some fertilityinducing drugs in exchange for sanctuary in Athens. His appearance marks a turning
point in the play, for Medea moves from being a passive victim to an aggressor after she
secures his promise of sanctuary.
Messenger - The messenger appears only once in the play--he relates in gruesome, vivid
detail the death scenes of Glauce and Creon, which occur offstage.
Nurse - Caretaker of the house, the nurse of the children serves as Medea's confidant.
Her presence is mainly felt in the play's opening lament and in a few speeches addressing
diverse subjects not entirely related to the action of the play.
Tutor - A very minor character, the tutor of the children mainly acts as a messenger, as
well as the person responsible for shuffling the children around from place to place.
LYSISTRATA
Aristophanes
Lysistrata has planned a meeting between all of the women of Greece to discuss the plan
to end the Peloponnesian War. As Lysistrata waits for the women of Sparta, Thebes, and
other areas to meet her she curses the weakness of women. Lysistrata plans to ask the
women to refuse sex with their husbands until a treaty for peace has been signed.
Lysistrata has also made plans with the older women of Athens (the Chorus of Old
Women) to seize the Akropolis later that day. The women from the various regions finally
assemble and Lysistrata convinces them to swear an oath that they will withhold sex from
their husbands until both sides sign a treaty of peace. As the women sacrifice a bottle of
wine to the Gods in celebration of their oath, they hear the sounds of the older women
taking the Akropolis, the fortress that houses the treasury of Athens.
In Lysistrata there are two chorusesthe Chorus of Old Men and the Chorus of Old
Women. A Koryphaios leads both choruses. The Chorus of Men is first to appear on stage
carrying wood and fire to the gates of the Akropolis. The Chorus of Men is an old and
bedraggled bunch of men who have great difficulty with the wood and the great earthen
pots of fire they carry. The men plan to smoke the women out of the Akropolis. The
Chorus of Old Women also approaches the Akropolis, carrying jugs of water to put out
the men's fires. The Chorus of Old Women is victorious in the contest between the
choruses and triumphantly pours the jugs of water over the heads of the men. The
Commissioner, an appointed magistrate, comes to the Akropolis seeking funds for the
naval ships. The Commissioner is surprised to find the women at the Akropolis and
orders his policemen to arrest Lysistrata and the other women. In a humorous battle, that
involves little physical contact, the policemen are scared off. The Commissioner takes the
opportunity to tell the men of Athens that they have been too generous and allowed too
much freedom with the women of the city. As the policemen run off, the Commissioner
and Lysistrata are left to argue about the Peloponnesian War. Lysistrata argues that the
War is a concern for women especially and she adds her two cents as to how the city
should be run, drawing an elaborate analogy to show that Athens should be structured as
a woman would spin wool. Lysistrata tells the Commissioner that war is a concern of
women because women have sacrificed greatly for itwomen have given their husbands

and their sons to the effort. Lysistrata adds that it is now difficult for a woman to find a
husband. The women mockingly dress the Commissioner as a woman.
The next day, or perhaps some considerable time afterwards, the sex-strike devised at the
beginning of the text, begins to take effect on the men. Lysistrata spots Kinesias, husband
of Myrrhine, approaching the Akropolis. Kinesias has a full erection and is desperate for
his wife. Myrrhine refuses to have intercourse with Kinesias until peace exists between
Athens and Sparta. Kinesias tells Myrrhine that her child needs her, he needs her and he
loves her and Myrrhine pretends to listen to his frustrated pleas. Myrrhine hints that she
might make love to Kinesias, but delays by going repeatedly into the Akropolis to fetch
things to make the couple comfortable. As Kinesias promises to only think about a treaty
of peace for Athens and Sparta, Myrrhine disappears into the Akropolis and leaves her
husband in great pain.
A Spartan Herald approaches the Akropolis and he, like Kinesias, suffers an erection. The
Spartan describes the desperate situation of his countrymen and pleads for a treaty.
Delegations from both states then meet at the Akropolis to discuss peace. At this point, all
of the men have full erections. Lysistrata comes out of the Akropolis with her naked
handmaid, Peace. While the men are fully distracted by Peace, Lysistrata lectures them on
the need for reconciliation between the states of Greece. Lysistrata reasons that because
both Athens and Sparta are of a common heritage and because they have previously
helped one another and owe a debt to one another, the two sides should not be fighting.
Using Peace as a map of Greece, the Spartan and Athenian leaders decide land rights that
will end the war. After both sides agree, Lysistrata gives the women back to the men and
a great celebration ensues. The play ends with a song sung in unison by the Chorus of
Old Men and the Chorus of Old Women while everyone dances.
Characters:
Lysistrata - Lysistrata is an Athenian woman who is sick and tired of war and the
treatment of women in Athens. Lysistrata gathers the women of Sparta and Athens
together to solve these social ills and finds success and power in her quest. Lysistrata is
the least feminine of the women from either Athens or Sparta, and her masculinity helps
her gain respect among the men.
Read an in-depth analysis of Lysistrata.
Kleonike - Kleonike is the next-door neighbor of Lysistrata and is the first to show up at
Lysistrata's meeting of women. Kleonike embraces her feminine side and is delighted that
Lysistrata's scheme for peace involves garments like negligees.
Myrrhine - If rank were imposed, Myrrhine would be the second strongest woman
in Lysistrata. Myrrhine is able to seduce her husband, Kinesias, but she refuses sex with
him just at the last minute.
Lampito - Lampito is representative of Spartan women. Lampito is a large, well-built
woman who American audiences might imagine with a thick Appalachian accent (by
Arrowsmith's translation, Sparta was the Greek equivalent of the stereotypically South).
Lampito brings the Spartan women into Lysistrata's plan.

Ismenia - Ismenia is a Boitian girl who has a nice body, keeps herself well tended, and is
quite possibly mute.
Korinthian Girl - This lady accompanies Ismenia and Lampito to Lysistrata's meeting
and is known for her vast posterior bodily feature.
Policewoman - The Policewoman kindly offers her shield up for the women to make a
sacrifice upon.
Koryphaios of Men - The Koryphaios of Men, a stubborn and rather grouchy fellow,
leads the Chorus of Old Men around Athens.
Chorus of Old Men - The Chorus of Old Men live up to their title; the chorus is made
up of twelve old men who teeter around Athens attempting to keep the women in line.
Although, unsuccessful in their civic duties, the Chorus of Old Men strike up some
fantastical misogynistic melodies and are a generally comedic element of the play.
Read an in-depth analysis of Chorus of Old Men.
Koryphaios of Women - Like the Koryphaios of Men, the Koryphaios of Women leads
the Chorus of Old Women around. The Koryphaios of Women leads a successful seizure
of the Akropolis and outwits the men in every possible way.
Chorus of Old Women - The Chorus of Old Women seizes and then protects the
Akropolis from the Chorus of Old Men. The Chorus of Old Women, although frail, fights
to the last with the men and finds victory in the end.
Read an in-depth analysis of Chorus of Old Women.
Commissioner of Public Safety - The Commissioner of Public Safety is apparently the
head of security and law in Athens, but is completely overwhelmed by the women and
ends up being dressed as a woman himself. Lysistrata has a lengthy conversation with the
Commissioner about the future of Athens and peace in the region, but the Commissioner
is very slow to understand her logic.
Four Policemen - These Policemen are humiliated again and again by the women. The
women, brandishing nothing but lamps, chamber pots and other various household
utensils, scare these policemen away.
Kinesias - The needy, desperate clown that Myrrhine calls her husband. Kinesias is the
first man to be affected by the sex strike and comes to the Akropolis, fully enflamed.
Read an in-depth analysis of Kinesias.
Peace - Lysistrata's handmaid. Peace is the unclothed beauty of a woman whom
Lysistrata displays and uses during her final plea for peace between Athens and Sparta.
Terribly aroused and uncomfortable, the men quickly discuss the terms of a truce, all the
while staring at Peace's body.
Everyman by Anonymous
The anonymous, fifteenth century English morality play Everyman was first published in
1508. It relates through allegory the tale of a dying Everyman and the items and qualities
he most values, which attend to him in his death. The play opens with a messenger
preparing the way for God, who after an opening meditation commands Death to seek out
Everyman and warn him that God sits in judgment of Everymans soul. Death approaches
Everyman and foretells his demise, telling Everyman that he will now undertake the
pilgrimage of the soul and stand before God to be reckoned. Everyman pleads to be
released from his journey, even begging for the journey to be delayed if only for a day,

but Death reminds Everyman that he comes for all people in their turn. Everyman
laments at his fate and attempts to find comfort and companionship for his journey.
First he looks for solace among his friends, allegorized by Fellowship. Initially,
Fellowship seems very concerned about Everymans grave state and pledges his undying
fealty and assistance, but upon discovering that Everyman undertakes the journey to
Death, Fellowship abandons Everyman to his own fate. Next, Everyman turns to Cousin
and Kindred, believing that familial bonds will prove stronger than those of Fellowship;
but, family, too, despite professing their love for and support of Everyman, abandons him
in the time of his greatest need. Next, Everyman turns to his own material possessions,
his Goods, which Everyman has spent a lifetime amassing. Everyman believes that his
Goods will accompany him on his pilgrimage to judgment, but his Goods, too, forsake
Everyman, leaving the lamentable figure wailing over his fate.
Now, in his moment of greatest despair, Everyman considers his own good deeds. Calling
for his Good Deeds, Everyman can hear only a weak and faint reply, since his Good
Deeds are but small in comparison to Everymans sins. Nonetheless, Good Deeds advises
Everyman to call upon his knowledge, to act as counsel in this hour of need. Knowledge
comes when called and prepares Everyman for Confession; after making an honest and
penitent accounting of his life, Everyman finds Good Deeds strengthened and able to rise
from the dirt. Good Deeds and Knowledge urge Everyman to call upon his other
attributesBeauty, Strength, Discretion, and Five Witsto aid him in preparing for his
journey. This they happily do, each offering their support and proffering some wisdom to
aid Everyman on his final pilgrimage. Each of his qualities pledges to stand by
Everyman, but as he approaches his own grave, each is taken aback. First Beauty
abandons him, then Strength, then Discretion, and then finally his own Five Wits.
Eventually, even Knowledge warns Everyman that he, too, will abandon him but only at
the very end. Thus Everyman learns that he may only take Good Deeds with him to the
grave and with him as he stands before God.
Everymans suffering, honest, and penitent confession, buoyed by his Good Deeds,
allows him to be brought into the Kingdom of Heaven. As an angel welcomes Everyman
into heaven, Doctor, a figure who represents a wise theologian in medieval times, comes
on stage and gives the plays moral. The Doctor warns that Everymans friends, family,
and material possessions cannot take the final journey with him and that even Beauty,
Strength, Discretion, and Five Wits will abandon him. The Doctor also warns that if the
size of Everymans Good Deeds is too small, they will not be sufficient for him to enter
into heaven. Yet, the Doctor concludes, if Everyman makes an honest confession and can
make a clear accounting of his own good deeds, then the Kingdom of Heaven will belong
to Everyman.
Dulcitius by Hrotswitha of Ganersheim
The emperor Diocletian, failing to persuade the three virgins Agape, Chione, and Irena to
renounce their Christian faith and sacrifice to the Roman gods, consigns them to prison.
Governor Dulcitius sees the girls' beauty and desires them so he commands that they be

locked up in the kitchen. During the night, he enters the kitchen and, believing he is
embracing and caressing the girls, fondles the pots and pans. He exits, unaware that he is
now blackened with soot from the kitchen utensils. Offended because his soldiers run
from him in fear, Dulcitius demands to see the emperor, but the guards, not recognizing
him, beat him and deny his admittance. When his wife appears tearing her hair and
lamenting that he has been made such a fool, he finally realizes his condition. He angrily
demands that the girls be stripped and publicly exposed.
The soldiers attempt to carry out Dulcitius's orders, but the robes refuse to come off the
bodies of the three girls. Diocletian orders Count Sisinnius to punish the girls. Sisinnius is
sympathetic to Irena, the youngest of the three girls, and orders her to be kept in prison
while the other two are punished. Agape and Chione are burned at the stake, but the
flames leave their clothing and their bodies unharmed as their souls rise to heaven. Irena
refuses to renounce her faith despite Sisinnius's threats of death or torture. He orders her
to be confined in a brothel, and the soldiers carry her away.
A short time later, the soldiers return with the news that two splendidly-dressed men with
radiant countenances appeared and claimed that Sisinnius had sent them to bear Irena to
the top of a mountain. Sisinnius himself pursues Irena, but is unable to find a path to the
summit where Irena stands, taunting him and pronouncing his damnation. At Sisinnius's
order, a soldier shoots Irena with an arrow and she dies, reaching toward heaven.
DOCTOR FAUSTUS
Christopher Marlowe
Doctor Faustus, a well-respected German scholar, grows dissatisfied with the limits of
traditional forms of knowledgelogic, medicine, law, and religionand decides that he
wants to learn to practice magic. His friends Valdes and Cornelius instruct him in the
black arts, and he begins his new career as a magician by summoning up Mephastophilis,
a devil. Despite Mephastophiliss warnings about the horrors of hell, Faustus tells the
devil to return to his master, Lucifer, with an offer of Faustuss soul in exchange for
twenty-four years of service from Mephastophilis. Meanwhile, Wagner, Faustuss servant,
has picked up some magical ability and uses it to press a clown named Robin into his
service.
Mephastophilis returns to Faustus with word that Lucifer has accepted Faustuss offer.
Faustus experiences some misgivings and wonders if he should repent and save his soul;
in the end, though, he agrees to the deal, signing it with his blood. As soon as he does so,
the words Homo fuge, Latin for O man, fly, appear branded on his arm. Faustus
again has second thoughts, but Mephastophilis bestows rich gifts on him and gives him a
book of spells to learn. Later, Mephastophilis answers all of his questions about the
nature of the world, refusing to answer only when Faustus asks him who made the
universe. This refusal prompts yet another bout of misgivings in Faustus, but
Mephastophilis and Lucifer bring in personifications of the Seven Deadly Sins to prance
about in front of Faustus, and he is impressed enough to quiet his doubts.

Armed with his new powers and attended by Mephastophilis, Faustus begins to travel. He
goes to the popes court in Rome, makes himself invisible, and plays a series of tricks. He
disrupts the popes banquet by stealing food and boxing the popes ears. Following this
incident, he travels through the courts of Europe, with his fame spreading as he goes.
Eventually, he is invited to the court of the German emperor, Charles V (the enemy of the
pope), who asks Faustus to allow him to see Alexander the Great, the famed fourthcentury B.C. Macedonian king and conqueror. Faustus conjures up an image of
Alexander, and Charles is suitably impressed. A knight scoffs at Faustuss powers, and
Faustus chastises him by making antlers sprout from his head. Furious, the knight vows
revenge.
Meanwhile, Robin, Wagners clown, has picked up some magic on his own, and with his
fellow stablehand, Rafe, he undergoes a number of comic misadventures. At one point, he
manages to summon Mephastophilis, who threatens to turn Robin and Rafe into animals
(or perhaps even does transform them; the text isnt clear) to punish them for their
foolishness.
Faustus then goes on with his travels, playing a trick on a horse-courser along the way.
Faustus sells him a horse that turns into a heap of straw when ridden into a river.
Eventually, Faustus is invited to the court of the Duke of Vanholt, where he performs
various feats. The horse-courser shows up there, along with Robin, a man named Dick
(Rafe in the A text), and various others who have fallen victim to Faustuss trickery. But
Faustus casts spells on them and sends them on their way, to the amusement of the duke
and duchess.
As the twenty-four years of his deal with Lucifer come to a close, Faustus begins to dread
his impending death. He has Mephastophilis call up Helen of Troy, the famous beauty
from the ancient world, and uses her presence to impress a group of scholars. An old man
urges Faustus to repent, but Faustus drives him away. Faustus summons Helen again and
exclaims rapturously about her beauty. But time is growing short. Faustus tells the
scholars about his pact, and they are horror-stricken and resolve to pray for him. On the
final night before the expiration of the twenty-four years, Faustus is overcome by fear
and remorse. He begs for mercy, but it is too late. At midnight, a host of devils appears
and carries his soul off to hell. In the morning, the scholars find Faustuss limbs and
decide to hold a funeral for him.
Characters:
Faustus - The protagonist. Faustus is a brilliant sixteenth-century scholar from
Wittenberg, Germany, whose ambition for knowledge, wealth, and worldly might makes
him willing to pay the ultimate pricehis soulto Lucifer in exchange for supernatural
powers. Faustuss initial tragic grandeur is diminished by the fact that he never seems
completely sure of the decision to forfeit his soul and constantly wavers about whether or
not to repent. His ambition is admirable and initially awesome, yet he ultimately lacks a
certain inner strength. He is unable to embrace his dark path wholeheartedly but is also
unwilling to admit his mistake.

Read an in-depth analysis of Faustus.


Mephastophilis - A devil whom Faustus summons with his initial magical experiments.
Mephastophiliss motivations are ambiguous: on the one hand, his oft-expressed goal is
to catch Faustuss soul and carry it off to hell; on the other hand, he actively attempts to
dissuade Faustus from making a deal with Lucifer by warning him about the horrors of
hell. Mephastophilis is ultimately as tragic a figure as Faustus, with his moving, regretful
accounts of what the devils have lost in their eternal separation from God and his
repeated reflections on the pain that comes with damnation.
Read an in-depth analysis of Mephastophilis.
Chorus - A character who stands outside the story, providing narration and commentary.
The Chorus was customary in Greek tragedy.
Old Man - An enigmatic figure who appears in the final scene. The old man urges
Faustus to repent and to ask God for mercy. He seems to replace the good and evil angels,
who, in the first scene, try to influence Faustuss behavior.
Good Angel - A spirit that urges Faustus to repent for his pact with Lucifer and return to
God. Along with the old man and the bad angel, the good angel represents, in many ways,
Faustuss conscience and divided will between good and evil.
Evil Angel - A spirit that serves as the counterpart to the good angel and provides
Faustus with reasons not to repent for sins against God. The evil angel represents the evil
half of Faustuss conscience.
Lucifer - The prince of devils, the ruler of hell, and Mephastophiliss master.
Wagner - Faustuss servant. Wagner uses his masters books to learn how to summon
devils and work magic.
Clown - A clown who becomes Wagners servant. The clowns antics provide comic
relief; he is a ridiculous character, and his absurd behavior initially contrasts with
Faustuss grandeur. As the play goes on, though, Faustuss behavior comes to resemble
that of the clown.
Robin - An ostler, or innkeeper, who, like the clown, provides a comic contrast to
Faustus. Robin and his friend Rafe learn some basic conjuring, demonstrating that even
the least scholarly can possess skill in magic. Marlowe includes Robin and Rafe to
illustrate Faustuss degradation as he submits to simple trickery such as theirs.
Rafe - An ostler, and a friend of Robin. Rafe appears as Dick (Robins friend and a
clown) in B-text editions of Doctor Faustus.
Valdes and Cornelius - Two friends of Faustus, both magicians, who teach him the art
of black magic.
Horse-courser - A horse-trader who buys a horse from Faustus, which vanishes after
the horse-courser rides it into the water, leading him to seek revenge.
The Scholars - Faustuss colleagues at the University of Wittenberg. Loyal to Faustus,
the scholars appear at the beginning and end of the play to express dismay at the turn
Faustuss studies have taken, to marvel at his achievements, and then to hear his agonized
confession of his pact with Lucifer.
The pope - The head of the Roman Catholic Church and a powerful political figure in
the Europe of Faustuss day. The pope serves as both a source of amusement for the
plays Protestant audience and a symbol of the religious faith that Faustus has rejected.
Emperor Charles V - The most powerful monarch in Europe, whose court Faustus
visits.

Knight - A German nobleman at the emperors court. The knight is skeptical of


Faustuss power, and Faustus makes antlers sprout from his head to teach him a lesson.
The knight is further developed and known as Benvolio in B-text versions ofDoctor
Faustus; Benvolio seeks revenge on Faustus and plans to murder him.
Bruno - A candidate for the papacy, supported by the emperor. Bruno is captured by the
pope and freed by Faustus. Bruno appears only in B-text versions of Doctor Faustus.
Duke of Vanholt - A German nobleman whom Faustus visits.
Martino and Frederick - Friends of Benvolio who reluctantly join his attempt to kill
Faustus. Martino and Frederick appear only in B-text versions of Doctor Faustus.
TWELFTH NIGHT
William Shakespeare
In the kingdom of Illyria, a nobleman named Orsino lies around listening to music, pining
away for the love of Lady Olivia. He cannot have her because she is in mourning for her
dead brother and refuses to entertain any proposals of marriage. Meanwhile, off the coast,
a storm has caused a terrible shipwreck. A young, aristocratic-born woman named Viola
is swept onto the Illyrian shore. Finding herself alone in a strange land, she assumes that
her twin brother, Sebastian, has been drowned in the wreck, and tries to figure out what
sort of work she can do. A friendly sea captain tells her about Orsinos courtship of
Olivia, and Viola says that she wishes she could go to work in Olivias home. But since
Lady Olivia refuses to talk with any strangers, Viola decides that she cannot look for
work with her. Instead, she decides to disguise herself as a man, taking on the name of
Cesario, and goes to work in the household of Duke Orsino.
Viola (disguised as Cesario) quickly becomes a favorite of Orsino, who makes Cesario
his page. Viola finds herself falling in love with Orsinoa difficult love to pursue, as
Orsino believes her to be a man. But when Orsino sends Cesario to deliver Orsinos love
messages to the disdainful Olivia, Olivia herself falls for the beautiful young Cesario,
believing her to be a man. The love triangle is complete: Viola loves Orsino, Orsino loves
Olivia, and Olivia loves Cesarioand everyone is miserable.
Meanwhile, we meet the other members of Olivias household: her rowdy drunkard of an
uncle, Sir Toby; his foolish friend, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, who is trying in his hopeless
way to court Olivia; Olivias witty and pretty waiting-gentlewoman, Maria; Feste, the
clever clown of the house; and Malvolio, the dour, prudish steward of Olivias household.
When Sir Toby and the others take offense at Malvolios constant efforts to spoil their
fun, Maria engineers a practical joke to make Malvolio think that Olivia is in love with
him. She forges a letter, supposedly from Olivia, addressed to her beloved (whose name
is signified by the letters M.O .A .I. ), telling him that if he wants to earn her favor, he
should dress in yellow stockings and crossed garters, act haughtily, smile constantly, and
refuse to explain himself to anyone. Malvolio finds the letter, assumes that it is addressed
to him, and, filled with dreams of marrying Olivia and becoming noble himself, happily
follows its commands. He behaves so strangely that Olivia comes to think that he is mad.

Meanwhile, Sebastian, who is still alive after all but believes his sister Viola to be dead,
arrives in Illyria along with his friend and protector, Antonio. Antonio has cared for
Sebastian since the shipwreck and is passionately (and perhaps sexually) attached to the
young manso much so that he follows him to Orsinos domain, in spite of the fact that
he and Orsino are old enemies.
Sir Andrew, observing Olivias attraction to Cesario (still Viola in disguise), challenges
Cesario to a duel. Sir Toby, who sees the prospective duel as entertaining fun, eggs Sir
Andrew on. However, when Sebastianwho looks just like the disguised Violaappears
on the scene, Sir Andrew and Sir Toby end up coming to blows with Sebastian, thinking
that he is Cesario. Olivia enters amid the confusion. Encountering Sebastian and thinking
that he is Cesario, she asks him to marry her. He is baffled, since he has never seen her
before. He sees, however, that she is wealthy and beautiful, and he is therefore more than
willing to go along with her. Meanwhile, Antonio has been arrested by Orsinos officers
and now begs Cesario for help, mistaking him for Sebastian. Viola denies knowing
Antonio, and Antonio is dragged off, crying out that Sebastian has betrayed him.
Suddenly, Viola has newfound hope that her brother may be alive.
Malvolios supposed madness has allowed the gleeful Maria, Toby, and the rest to lock
Malvolio into a small, dark room for his treatment, and they torment him at will. Feste
dresses up as "Sir Topas," a priest, and pretends to examine Malvolio, declaring him
definitely insane in spite of his protests. However, Sir Toby begins to think better of the
joke, and they allow Malvolio to send a letter to Olivia, in which he asks to be released.
Eventually, Viola (still disguised as Cesario) and Orsino make their way to Olivias
house, where Olivia welcomes Cesario as her new husband, thinking him to be Sebastian,
whom she has just married. Orsino is furious, but then Sebastian himself appears on the
scene, and all is revealed. The siblings are joyfully reunited, and Orsino realizes that he
loves Viola, now that he knows she is a woman, and asks her to marry him. We discover
that Sir Toby and Maria have also been married privately. Finally, someone remembers
Malvolio and lets him out of the dark room. The trick is revealed in full, and the
embittered Malvolio storms off, leaving the happy couples to their celebration.
Characters:
Viola - A young woman of aristocratic birth, and the plays protagonist. Washed up on
the shore of Illyria when her ship is wrecked in a storm, Viola decides to make her own
way in the world. She disguises herself as a young man, calling herself "Cesario," and
becomes a page to Duke Orsino. She ends up falling in love with Orsinoeven as Olivia,
the woman Orsino is courting, falls in love with Cesario. Thus, Viola finds that her clever
disguise has entrapped her: she cannot tell Orsino that she loves him, and she cannot tell
Olivia why she, as Cesario, cannot love her. Her poignant plight is the central conflict in
the play.
Read an in-depth analysis of Viola.
Orsino - A powerful nobleman in the country of Illyria. Orsino is lovesick for the
beautiful Lady Olivia, but becomes more and more fond of his handsome new page boy,

Cesario, who is actually a womanViola. Orsino is a vehicle through which the play
explores the absurdity of love: a supreme egotist, Orsino mopes around complaining how
heartsick he is over Olivia, when it is clear that he is chiefly in love with the idea of being
in love and enjoys making a spectacle of himself. His attraction to the ostensibly male
Cesario injects sexual ambiguity into his character.
Read an in-depth analysis of Orsino.
Olivia - A wealthy, beautiful, and noble Illyrian lady, Olivia is courted by Orsino and Sir
Andrew Aguecheek, but to each of them she insists that she is in mourning for her
brother, who has recently died, and will not marry for seven years. She and Orsino are
similar characters in that each seems to enjoy wallowing in his or her own misery. Violas
arrival in the masculine guise of Cesario enables Olivia to break free of her self-indulgent
melancholy. Olivia seems to have no difficulty transferring her affections from one love
interest to the next, however, suggesting that her romantic feelingslike most emotions
in the playdo not run deep.
Read an in-depth analysis of Olivia.
Sebastian - Violas lost twin brother. When he arrives in Illyria, traveling with Antonio,
his close friend and protector, Sebastian discovers that many people think that they know
him. Furthermore, the beautiful Lady Olivia, whom he has never met, wants to marry
him. Sebastian is not as well rounded a character as his sister. He seems to exist to take
on the role that Viola fills while disguised as Cesarionamely, the mate for Olivia.
Malvolio - The straitlaced stewardor head servantin the household of Lady Olivia.
Malvolio is very efficient but also very self-righteous, and he has a poor opinion of
drinking, singing, and fun. His priggishness and haughty attitude earn him the enmity of
Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Maria, who play a cruel trick on him, making him believe that
Olivia is in love with him. In his fantasies about marrying his mistress, he reveals a
powerful ambition to rise above his social class.
Read an in-depth analysis of Malvolio.
Feste - The clown, or fool, of Olivias household, Feste moves between Olivias and
Orsinos homes. He earns his living by making pointed jokes, singing old songs, being
generally witty, and offering good advice cloaked under a layer of foolishness. In spite of
being a professional fool, Feste often seems the wisest character in the play.
Sir Toby - Olivias uncle. Olivia lets Sir Toby Belch live with her, but she does not
approve of his rowdy behavior, practical jokes, heavy drinking, late-night carousing, or
friends (specifically the idiotic Sir Andrew). Sir Toby also earns the ire of Malvolio. But
Sir Toby has an ally, and eventually a mate, in Olivias sharp-witted waitinggentlewoman, Maria. Together they bring about the triumph of chaotic spirit, which Sir
Toby embodies, and the ruin of the controlling, self-righteous Malvolio.
Maria - Olivias clever, daring young waiting-gentlewoman. Maria is remarkably similar
to her antagonist, Malvolio, who harbors aspirations of rising in the world through
marriage. But Maria succeeds where Malvolio failsperhaps because she is a woman,
but, more likely, because she is more in tune than Malvolio with the anarchic, topsy-turvy
spirit that animates the play.
Sir Andrew Aguecheek - A friend of Sir Tobys. Sir Andrew Aguecheek attempts to
court Olivia, but he doesnt stand a chance. He thinks that he is witty, brave, young, and
good at languages and dancing, but he is actually an idiot.

Antonio - A man who rescues Sebastian after his shipwreck. Antonio has become very
fond of Sebastian, caring for him, accompanying him to Illyria, and furnishing him with
moneyall because of a love so strong that it seems to be romantic in nature. Antonios
attraction to Sebastian, however, never bears fruit. Despite the ambiguous and shifting
gender roles in the play, Twelfth Night remains a romantic comedy in which the
characters are destined for marriage. In such a world, homoerotic attraction cannot be
fulfilled.
Atsumori by Zeami Motokiyo
After killing the exceptionally young warrior, Taira no Atsumori, in the battle at Ichino-tani, Kumagai no Jir Naozane, a warrior of the Genji clan, renounced the world
and took the priestly name Rensei (Rensh), as he was overwhelmed by the tragedy
and realized the uncertainty of life. When Rensei (Rensh) visits the Ichi-no-tani
battlefield to pray for the repose of Atsumori's soul and looks back on the day, grass
cutters appear, to the music of a flute. When Rensei (Rensh) speaks to them, one of
them tells him the story associated with the flute.
To the suspicious Rensei (Rensh), the man responds that he has a connection with
Atsumori and asks Rensei (Rensh) to repeat the prayer to Amitabha Buddha ten
times for the sake of Atsumori. When Rensei (Rensh) recites the sutra connected
with Amitabha Tathagata, the man implies that he is the ghost of Atsumori and
disappears.
In the night, the ghost of Atsumori, who looks as he was on his last day, appears
before Rensei (Rensh), who prays for the peace of Atumori's soul. Atsumori is
delighted as Rensei (Rensh), who prays for salvation through mourning Atsumori,
was a foe but is a true friend now. Atsumori then starts to confess. First, in the kuse he
describes the Heike clan's escape from Kyoto in the autumn of 1183, their forlorn
lives in Suma Bay, and the decline of the entire clan. He then dances while recalling
the party in the Ichi-no-tani camp in the last night of his life. He shows the past battle
scene in which Atsumori came to the beach at Ichi-no-tani to embark on a boat, but
Kumagai called after him to challenge him to single combat. Atsumori leaves asking
Rensei (Rensh), whom he feels like not an enemy but a close friend, to pray for his
soul.
Life is A Dream by Pedro Calderon de la Barca
THE horoscope of the infant Prince, Segismund, convinces the Polish King, Basilio, that
Segismund is destined to bring dishonor on Poland and downfall to his father, Basilio. He
therefore announces that Segismund has died with his mother in birth. Confined in a
tower, deep in the rocky fastnesses of the frontier, Segismund grows to manhood chained
like an animal to a ring in the floor, guarded under direction of Basilio's confidential
general, Clotaldo.

As the play opens two strangers whose storm-frighted horses have bolted, stumble on
Segismund's prison. One of them confesses in a voice all too gentle for her masculine
attire that she has come from Muscovy on a matter of vengeance and Segismund, for the
moment unguarded, confesses that he too, thinks often on revenge. Clotaldo's appearance
is about to result in death for the newcomers when the general recognizes the stranger's
sword as one he had left years before in Muscovy as pledge for favor owed. The stranger
identifies herself as Rosaura, daughter of Clotaldo's quondam benefactor, and is proffered
safe conduct to Warsaw.
Meanwhile the King has Segismund brought to court while in a drugged sleep, to wake to
all the appearances of royal splendor. His tragic story is related to him, he meets his
cousins, Astolfo and Estrella, and falls promptly in love with the latter. When, however,
his father, the King, appears, his desire for revenge on an unnatural father is too strong
and he would have attacked the King had not the guards prevented. For this action he is
returned in a drugged sleep to his prison and the King prepares to carry out his plans to
marry his nephew, Duke Astolfo of Muscovy, to his niece, Estrella, and turn over his
kingdom to them.
Meanwhile, back in the prison, Segismund is convinced by Clotaldo that the entire day's
happenings are but a dream. Clotaldo nevertheless chides him for his unprincelike lack of
self-control so effectively that when later in the day he is rescued by revolting Polish
troops directed to his prison by Rosaura, he treats the vanquished King with great nobility
and returns to him his forfeit crown. When he discovers that Astolfo has broken his
engagement to Rosaura in hopes of gaining the Polish crown through marriage to
Estrella, he dissolves the new bond, returning Astolfo to Rosaura and claims Estrella for
himself.
FEVER DREAM by Sheila Callaghan
In Fever/Dream, Segis Basil, an employee at an American mega-corporation called Basil
Enterprises, is literally chained to his desk in the basement, working in customer service hell.
He is the son of the powerful CEO of the company, Bill Basil. However, Segis was unluckily
born on Black Monday and his mother died in childbirth, leading his superstitious father to
lock Segis away. In the play, the elderly Basil contemplates the future of his corporation and
decides to give his son the opportunity to run the company for a day. When Segis takes
business metaphors too far and sends the companys stock plummeting to ruin, he is
returned to the basement and told it was all a dream. Meanwhile, Stella Strong and Aston
Martin compete for the top offices and bike-messenger Rose and temp Claire scheme to take
down the company
Characters:
Segis Segismundo
Rose - Rosaura
Claire - Clarin
Fred Clotaldo - Clotaldo
Stella Strong - Estrella
Aston Martin - Astolfo

Bill Basil - Basilio


Associates - saves Segis

Tartuffe by Moliere
There's a storm brewing at Orgon's house. According to his mother, Madame Pernelle,
Orgon's family has become decadent and depraved. They're unable to see the greatness of
Tartuffe, a beggar and holy man Orgon recently took in. According to the rest of Orgon's
family, Orgon has been "taken in." They think Tartuffe is a hypocritical, self-righteous
con artist. When Orgon returns from the country, we find that he's become obsessed with
Tartuffe; he would rather hear about him than about his sick wife. Orgon is offended
when his brother-in-law, Clante, tells him he's been acting like an idiot. When Orgon
attempts to explain why Tartuffe is such a great and admirable man, Clante sees right
through his brother-in-law's unsound reasoning. Clante asks Orgon about the rumored
postponement of Mariane's (Orgon's daughter) wedding. Orgon confirms that it has
indeed been postponed, but he will say nothing further. Clante is rightfully concerned.
Orgon calls Mariane in for a chat. He wants to know how she feels about Tartuffe. When
she acts surprised, he tells her how she's supposed to feel: she respects him, is fond of
him, and will marry him. Mariane is speechless, but luckily Dorine, a saucy servant, isn't.
She comes in and asks Orgon if Mariane is really going to marry Tartuffe. When her boss
confirms this, she makes fun of him, calling the idea ridiculous. Dorine proceeds to
annoy Orgon, preventing him from talking further with Mariane.
Once Orgon leaves, an irritated Dorine tells Mariane that she can't believe how weak she
acts in front of her father. Although she is hard on Mariane, Dorine eventually relents and
agrees to help the girl. Valre, Mariane's fianc, enters. He's heard the bad news about
their wedding plans. Soon enough he and Mariane are arguing over nothing in particular.
Dorine gets them to kiss and make up. The clever servant instructs Mariane to stall the
wedding to Tartuffe and tells Valre to spread word of Orgon's foolishness around town.
When Damis, Orgon's son, hears about his father's plan to marry Mariane to Tartuffe, he
flips out and tells Dorine that he's going to give Tartuffe a knuckle sandwich. Dorine has
a better idea: she's arranged for a meeting between Tartuffe and Elmire, Orgon's wife.
Damis insists on watching, and spies on the conversation while hiding in a closet. During
the meeting, Tartuffe makes a rather awkward attempt to seduce Elmire. When he fails,
Elmire strikes a deal with him. If he refuses to marry Mariane, she says, she won't tell
Orgon about what just happened. While Tartuffe seems fine with this, Damis does not. He
leaps from the closet and confronts Tartuffe. When he tells Orgon who just happens to
walk in what he's just seen, Orgon doesn't believe him. As a result, Orgon disinherits
Damis and gives Tartuffe the rights to his whole estate.
Clante attempts to reason with Tartuffe and get him to give Damis a second chance, but
Tartuffe refuses. All the while, things get worse: Mariane can no longer bear the stress of
her impending marriage. When Orgon appears, marriage contract in hand, Mariane,

Dorine, and Elmire plead with him. Though he has pangs of conscience, he stands firm.
Elmire takes matters into her own hands, and promises to show him the truth about
Tartuffe. She makes him hide under a table and tells Dorine to call in Tartuffe.
When Tartuffe arrives, she does her best to "seduce" him. He is skeptical of the whole
situation, given the quick about-face, and demands that she give him some concrete sign
of her affection. Elmire becomes increasingly antsy, and eventually asks Tartuffe to step
outside the room and look to make sure her husband Orgon isn't around. When he
does, Orgon pops out from under the table, enraged. Elmire tries to get him to hide again,
in order that he might watch more and really make sure he's satisfied, but Tartuffe comes
in before he can hide. When Orgon confronts Tartuffe, Tartuffe reminds him that he has
the rights to Orgon's property and promises to get his revenge.
As it turns out, not only does Tartuffe have the rights to Orgon's property, he also has a
number of documents that, if they were to come to the attention of the King, could get
Orgon in serious trouble. Damis returns, ready to fight Tartuffe literally but he's
interrupted by Madame Pernelle. She can't believe the rumors she's heard about Tartuffe.
Orgon attempts, unsuccessfully, to convince her, and only becomes frustrated in the
process. Their argument is cut short by the arrival of Monsieur Loyal, a messenger sent
by Tartuffe. He serves Orgon with a notice of eviction, and let's them know that he and
his family should be out of the house by the next morning. Just when things seem like
they couldn't get any worse, Valre comes in and tells Orgon that he must flee the
country, as Tartuffe has denounced him to the King.
Orgon is just about to leave with Valre, when Tartuffe shows up, accompanied by a
police officer. He tells Orgon what he already knows and, after being insulted, tells the
officer to arrest Orgon. The officer arrests Tartuffe instead, telling Orgon that the King
saw through Tartuffe's scheme immediately. Turns out, Tartuffe is also a well-known
criminal. Orgon is pardoned by the King, on account of his loyalty and prior aid to the
Crown. Orgon begins to curse Tartuffe, but Clante makes him stop. Instead, he tells
Orgon, we should pray for his salvation. Orgon relents, and tells everyone to get ready to
see the King. Once the King has been properly thanked, Orgon says that Valre and
Mariane can finally be married.
Characters:

Orgon
There are many words that could be used to describe Orgon: idiot, dunce, sucker, chump,
chucklehead, chowderhead, dunderhead hmmm, what's with all these head words?
Anyway, you get t...

Tartuffe

Tartuffe's reputation precedes him. His name is the title, and the characters of this play
spend all their time talking about him but he doesn't even show up in person until Act
3. By this...

Dorine
Dorine is Mariane's maid. She's also saucy, sassy, and streetwise. She's always ready with
a snappy comeback and some good advice. Without Dorine, Mariane probably would
have folded under pressure...

Clante
Clante is both a wise man and a wise guy: he's a perceptive, learned, intellectual, you
name it. He's also a big talker, one who never seems to doubt the truth of anything he
says. Clan...

Elmire
Elmire is what you might call a strong woman. And we're not talking 17th century strong,
no sirree. She could go toe to toe with a 21st-century lady and hold her own. Now, this
kind of "modern" spi...

Mariane
Mariane is daddy's little girl. She loves her guy, Valre, there's no doubt about it, but
she's used to saying yes to everything her father Orgon asks. So, as you might expect,
she's a little...

Damis
Damis lays it all on the line in Act 1, Scene 1, when he tells Madame Pernelle that
Tartuffe's "every action makes me seeth and tremble/ with helpless, anger, and I have no
doubt that he and I will...

Madame Pernelle
Madame Pernelle is Orgon's mother. Like her son, she's enamored with Tartuffe. She eats
up every word he utters and spits it back out at Elmire, Clante, Mariane, and the rest of
the family. A...

Valre

Valre is a nice guy who very nearly finishes last. Sure, he and Mariane have a little
lovers' spat, but there's not much else wrong with him as far as we can tell. He's simply a
victim of cir...

Monsieur Loyal
Monsieur Loyal is a bearer of bad news and a lackey for Tartuffe. Which makes sense:
he's just as much of a hypocrite as his master. After serving Orgon with an eviction notice
on behalf of "the go...

Police Officer
The officer is responsible for arresting Tartuffe in the play's final scene. More
importantly, he acts as the mouthpiece for the King. He lets everyone know that Orgon
has been exonerated, that Tar...

Flipote
Flipote is Madame Pernelle's maid. She gets slapped and generally disrespected by
Pernelle at the end of Act 1, Scene 1.-

The Rover by Aphra Behn


Based on Thomas Killigrew's play Thomaso, or The Wanderer (1664), The Rover features
multiple plot lines, dealing with the amorous adventures of a group of Englishmen
in Naples at Carnival time.
The "rover" of the play's title is Willmore, a rakish naval captain, who falls in love with a
young woman named Hellena, who has set out to experience love before her brother
sends her to a convent. Complications arise when Angellica Bianca, a famous courtesan,
falls in love with Willmore and swears revenge on him for his betrayal.
Meanwhile, Hellena's sister Florinda attempts to marry her true love, Colonel Belvile,
rather than the man her brother has selected. The third major plot of the play deals with
the provincial Blunt, who becomes convinced that a girl has fallen in love with him but is
humiliated when she turns out to be a prostitute and a thief.
Characters:

FLORINDA, Sister to Don Pedro,and Hellena

HELLENA, a young Woman designd for a Nun, and Sister to Florinda

VALERIA, a Kinswoman to Florinda

ANGELLICA BIANCA, a famous Courtesan

MORETTA, her Woman

CALLIS, Governess to Florinda and Hellena

LUCETTA, a jilting Wench

DON ANTONIO, the King's Son, The Viceroy's Son

DON PEDRO, Florinda and Hellena's brother, a Noble Spaniard, Antonio's Friend

BELVILE, an English Colonel in love with Florinda

WILLMORE, the Rover

FREDERICK, English Gentleman, Friend to Belvile and Blunt

BLUNT, an English Country Gentleman

STEPHANO, Servant to Don Pedro

PHILLIPO, Lucetta's Gallant

SANCHO, Pimp to Lucetta

BISKEY and Sebastian, two Bravoes to Angelica

DIEGO, Page to Don Antonio

PAGE to Hellena

BOY, Page to Belvile

OFFICERS and SOLDIERS

SERVANTS, MASQUERADERS, Off-stage VOICES

Don Juan by Moliere


Alright, alright, alright! Heres the deal. Lets start with Sganarelle. Sganarelle and
Gusman are hanging out and Sganarelle is telling Gusman how much he actually
disapproves of Don Juans actions. You see, Don Juans a playa playa.

Don Juan then shows up and Sganarelle finds the courage to tell him that hes
not being so nice hanging out with so many women even though hes married. The
problem here is that Sganarelle is Don Juans wingman so he doesnt really have the
right to say this about his master.
Of course as the guys are having this conversation Don Juans wife, Donna
Elvira shows up and kills the mood. She starts yelling at Don Juan because she totally
knows that hes cheating on her with some biddy that was there when Don Juan and
Sganarelle were saved from drowning! Whats kinda funny about this is that Don Juan
left Elvira in the first place to go chase down another girl who was on a boat for her
honeymoon! Like I said, a playa playa.
After this argument between Don Juan and his wife, Don Juan and Sganarelle
set back out to see Mathurine (the girl who was there when they were rescued from
drowning). On their way to see Mathurine, they run into another peasent girl, Charlotte.
Suddenly Don Juan gets a little to big for his britches (if ya know what I mean), and
waltzes over to Charlottle asking for her hand in marriage and in turn convinces her to
break up with her fiance, Pierrot. Once again with perfect timing Mathurine walks in
while Don Juan is getting his flirt on with Charlotte.
After all this goes down DJ decides to head back home to his once-nun wife (did
we mention he stole her from a convent?) As theyre heading back home DJ and
Sganarelle find out that Elviras brothers are on a man hunt for the dude that hurt their
sister. Suddenly disguises are necessary. As they get to the city they find a stranger
struggling against bandits. They help the stranger only to find out that its Elviras
brother Don Carlos DUN DUN DUUUN!
Don Carlos is saved just as Don Alonse (the other brother)and his men show up. Don
Juan and Sganarelle remove their disguises and the brothers are outraged. The boys
eventually agree not to kill DJ because after all, he did save Don Carlos. DJ and Sgan
keep on their journey through the city and at one point stumble upon a statue. DJ thinks
itd be funny to make Sgan invite the statue to dinner. He does it and to everyones
surprise, the statue nods back (what?!)
Whats even weirder is that the statue does show up for dinner! Don Juan is
freaked out and the servant convinces Don Juan that this is a sign of heavens wrath
because DJ is not a holy guy. DJ then fakes being super religious because he doesnt
wanna die. This seems kinda dumb because of course heaven is gonna know hes lying!
The play ends with the earth opening, swallowing Don Juan into a fiery hell for all the

problems hes caused. Sganarelle is left to explain that Don Juans leaving is great for
everyone except him because My pay! My pay! My pay! THE END
What are some of the motifs?

Obsessive male behaviors

Hypocrites of society

Offending the King/higher powers

Insulting religion

Now you may be wondering, what does any of this have to do with Molieres life?!

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin was born into a wealthy bourgeois family

Father was the valet of King Louis XIIIs chamber

Abandoned class and assumed the name Moliere

Founded the Illustre Theatre as well as a new theatre troupe with Madeleine
Bejart

1662: married Armande Bejart (may be the illegitimate daughter of Madeleine


and the Duke of Modena)

Don Juan is an atheist

Criticized by religious leaders, medical professionals, and theorists