Epicene, or the Silent Woman

Sources

For Epicœne, in contrast to his usual practice in comedy, Jonson relied to some extent on a variety of sources. While most details of characterization and plot are, as usual, his own invention, he found the scenario in two orations by Libanius: in one, a groom in Morose's situation argues for permission to commit suicide to escape his marriage, while in the other an elderly miser plans to disinherit a nephew who laughed at him. The coup de theatre of Epicœne's unveiling, while traditionally viewed as derived from the Casina of Plautus, is closer both in spirit and in execution to Il Marescalco of Aretino. Finally, a comic duel between La Foole and Daw is usually seen as an echo of the mock-duel between Viola and Aguecheek in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Some more local details are also borrowed from the classical misogynistic tradition. True-wit's speeches condemning marriage are larded with borrowings from Ovid's Ars Amatoria and Juvenal's Satire VI. John Aubrey's claim that Morose was modelled on Elizabethan businessman Thomas Sutton is no longer credited.


This content is from Wikipedia. GradeSaver is providing this content as a courtesy until we can offer a professionally written study guide by one of our staff editors. We do not consider this content professional or citable. Please use your discretion when relying on it.