Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
While Aegeus is king of Athens, the women of Scythia rebel against the men and elect Hippolyta queen. Theseus proposes to purge this sin and set sail with an army to fight the Amazons. When Theseus attacks the fortress of Queen Hippolyta, he receives a message from her saying that he should desist or he will be driven away. He in turn tells her that she must surrender or die. Hippolyta decides to surrender under a pact whereby she becomes Theseus’s bride. After the wedding, Theseus is struck by the beauty of Hippolyta’s sister Emilia.
Two years later, Theseus, Hippolyta, and Emilia sail to Athens. On his return Theseus learns that Creon attacked Thebes and, hating the Greeks, prohibited the burial of the dead Thebans. Theseus vows to defeat Creon so that the dead men of the weeping Athenian women can have a proper burial. Theseus and his men follow the women to the scene of battle and confront Creon. After the warriors challenge one another, the two armies fight. During the battle Theseus encounters Creon and kills him. Creon’s men flee to the mountains. Theseus then tells the women to collect the bodies of their men and burn them in proper ceremony.
Meanwhile, some Athenian soldiers find two wounded youths of Creon’s army, Palaemon and Arcites, whose armor shows them to be of royal blood. When they are brought before Theseus, he has them taken as prisoners back to Athens. Several days after his triumphant return to Athens, Theseus...
(The entire section is 1251 words.)
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