Epicoene - The Silent Woman Ebook
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Ben Jonson’s play of the agreeable versus disagreeable behaviors of men and women begins by situating, at the center of the plot, a boy disguised as a woman whose name is Epicoene. A misanthrope, Morose, has hopes of marrying “her.” Morose hates the noise of society and dreams of living in total silence. Epicoene, also called the Silent Woman, is compliant and meek. When she passes all of Morose’s derogatory interrogation with flying colors and they are married, she suddenly begins scolding him loudly and infringing on his peaceful surroundings by bringing in her raucous friends. Morose’s greedy nephew, Dauphine, promises to find a way to end this marriage as long as he receives a sumptuous allowance for his effort. After the divorce papers are finally signed, Dauphine removes Epicoene’s wig to show that “she” is a male actor trained for the part. Jonson’s divergence from Elizabethan comedy’s usual direction from sadness to joy instead begins with high spirits and ends in loss and discouragement. This play is menacing, funny, and finds fault at almost every social level. It is all about selfishness and hypocrisy and how seemingly playful cosmetic concealment only produces corruption and deception. Please Note: This book has been reformatted to be easy to read in true text, not scanned images that can sometimes be difficult to decipher. The Microsoft eBook has a contents page linked to the chapter headings for easy navigation. The Adobe eBook has bookmarks at chapter headings and is printable up to two full copies per year. Both versions are text searchable.
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