The Broken Heart by John Ford was written between 1625 and 1633. The Broken Heart is set in ancient Greece and revolves around two noble Spartan families. The families had a feud against each other until their children got engaged. Penthea and Orglius we engaged to be married, but before there could be a wedding Penthea’s father, Tharsus, died. The death of her father made way for Penthea’s twin brother, Ithocles, to trick her in to a more socially beneficial marriage with Bassanes. Bassanes is not a very good husband, he is violent and jealous.
Ithocles goes to fight in a war against Messene. Orglius asks his father if he can leave to go to Athens to recover from losing Penthea, his father agrees. Orglius doesn’t actually go to Athens, he stays in Sparta in a disguise. While he is disguised he hears his sister, Euphrania, and one of Ithocles friends, Prophilus, speaking of how they love each other. The two discover that the disguise is Orglius and they ask him to pass love letters between them. Meanwhile Ithocles returns to Sparta and is now a war hero, he is crowned with a wreath made by Calantha, which is when he falls in love with her.
Orglius reveals himself to Penthea and tells her how much he loves her, but she refuses to take him back no matter what might happen to Bassanes. She feels tainted and spoiled by her marriage and she doesn’t want to hurt Orglius. Ithocles, after forcing Penthea into a horrible marriage, asks her to make him look good to Calantha. She agrees to help him, but she also reminds him he feels for Calantha what she felt for Orglius, which is what he has deprived her of. It is now that Bassanes, crazy and jealous, rushes in accusing the two of incest. This is when Penthea is taken form him until he can learn to control his jealousy and crazy behavior.
I can see Orglius wanting revenge for his wife being taken away from him. And since this a revenge tragedy I’m sure in the next two acts we can expect the demise of some characters.
The Maid’s Tragedy, written by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher was first published during the Jacobean period, in 1619. The play appears to have a bit of a hazy plot which takes place at court and revolves around a secret love affair between the King and Evadne, the sister of a great general, Melantius who has just arrived back from his duties.
Melantius is surprised when he is told that Evadne is to marry one of his friends, Amintor because he was betrothed to the noblewoman, Aspatia. Apparently, the King orchestrated the whole thing claiming that he was honoring the general by marrying off his sister to a nobleman. The reader soon finds out that the King is sleeping with Evadne, so he acts quickly by covering up a potential pregnancy with her marriage to Amintor.
After their wedding, Evadne and Amintor go to their bedroom, where she refuses to sleep with her new husband. Soon thereafter however, Evadne shares with him that the King made her his mistress and arranged their marriage to cover it all up, Amintor feels badly about the whole situation and agrees to act as a married couple would. The next morning the couple keeps up the appearance when talking to various men of the court where both Evadne and her brother, Melantius notice Amintor is acting strangely. The King begins asking Amintor and Evadne questions and as they answer the King appears to grow jealous of this new partnership which he arranged. When alone with the pair, the King tells Amintor that he is to stay away from Evadne and allow her to be with the King whenever he so pleases.
Amintor reveals all that has transpired as of late to his friend and now brother in law, Melantius. Melanius tells his friend to have patience and not to do anything rash, meanwhile as soon as Melantius is left alone he begins hatching a revenge plot against the King, and reveals it to Calianax. I am very interested to see what is going to happen in the final acts of the play and whether or not Melantius will be successful in his plot against the King, and who else will perish.
Antonio’s Revenge by John Marston was written in between the years 1599-1600 as a late Elizabethan play. In the prologue of the play, it is revealed that Antonio’s Revenge is actually the sequel to another one of Marston’s plays called Antonio and Mellida. If there are to be any confusions as to where the play starts, that is because it is picking up where the first play ended.
For some background information as to where the characters in this current play stand, Antonio and Mellida was about Piero’s attempt to disrupt the marriage and love of his daughter and Antonio’s, who is the son of his rival the Duke of Genoa, Andrugio. During one point in the plot, Antonio is shipwrecked and he takes this opportunity to disguise himself as an Amazon and goes to Venice to convince Mellida to go with him. Unfortunately, when the two lovers become separated, Mellida is taken back to Venice in which her father continues to prevent her from being with Antonio. Andrugio decides to help his son and Mellida, and to bring peace between Genoa and Venice, by going to the Venetian court and tells Piero that Antonio has been murdered. Andrugio carries his son’s coffin in to the court and Piero is moved by his enemy’s actions, embraces Andrugio, and confesses he wishes Antonio were still alive in order to marry his daughter. As this was a ploy the whole time, Antonio emerges from the coffin that his death was truly fake. By bringing peace between the two cities, Antonio and Mellida are able to finally marry one another.
In the beginning of the play, we are brought to Piero’s bloody acts, which are to have occurred between Antonio and Mellida‘s ending and the start of Antonio’s Revenge. Piero, Mellida’s father, is still not fond of the idea of his daughter getting married to Antonio. The information that we need on the characters has already been established in Antonio and Mellida.
As the play progresses, we can see Antonio’s Revenge has some similarities to that of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The appearance of Andrugio’s ghost to Antonio is a very obvious similarity of the two; he tells Antonio how he was murdered, how his wife has fallen in love with the murderer, who he says is Piero, and asks his son to get revenge for what has happened.
It will be interesting to see how Antonio will go along with the plan in getting revenge on his father’s murder or if he will be as delayed in the process as Hamlet was, or if he’ll maybe face the same fate.