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PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource

The Two Noble Kinsmen Characters

Palamon is a nephew of the tyrant Creon of Thebes. 

He neither likes nor approves of his uncle, and would leave his court and fight against him, were it not dishonorable. He is deeply attached to his cousin Arcite, his war-mate and best friend, and quite self-congratulatory about what good friends they are. The two are almost indistinguishable, both being just as self-involved, and both falling powerfully in love with Emilia merely at the sight of her. Palamon is gloomier than his cousin, and has more of a temper. He sings to himself when alone in prison, and is very kind to his Jailer’s Daughter, who tends to him – even kissing her once. When she offers to free him, he is concerned for her and her father, and does not respond to her declaration of love. He is appreciative of Arcite’s caring for him in the woods, but still only wishes to recover his strength so as to be able to fight his cousin. He chooses to pray to Venus, the goddess of Love, before his battle with Arcite, and though he loses the fight in the end he gains the lady. He is generous, and twice offers the Jailer money for his daughter’s dowry, as thanks for her freeing him; he also obtains from Theseus that neither Jailer nor Daughter be held to blame for his escape. He is quite cheerful about having his head chopped off after he loses the battle to Arcite. He insists throughout that he has first rights to Emilia, as he saw her a few seconds before Arcite did.

 

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