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

The Two Noble Kinsmen Characters

Emilia is Hippolyta’s sister. Like her an Amazon, she has fought in battles with her sister. 

She is a kind and pitying woman. Still mourning the death of her childhood friend Flavina, she is convinced that she will never share a love as intense or as close as she had with the deceased girl. She enjoys gardens, though she is not fully acquainted with the names of all the flowers. She likes her brother-in-law Theseus, who organizes races and wrestling for her birthday. Emilia remains completely unaware that she has become the love-object of the two warring cousins Palamon and Arcite until she comes across them fighting each other to the death over her. She is appalled by this, and hopes to have them banished so that she will not have to deal with them again. She refuses to choose one over the other, both because she cannot see either as better than the other and because she does not wish to condemn one of them to death. She finds both as worthy as the other and does not know which one’s victory to hope for in the battle over her; she is also horrified that three other men will die simply because of her existence and beauty, and refuses to actually attend the fight. There is no sign that she actually loves either of them, and she has little reaction to the sudden change in husband at the end, though she pledges to keep the day of Arcite’s death as a memorial day to him for the rest of her life.

 

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