Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Mithridates, the Pontine king who was fighting the Romans for forty years, is defeated and believed dead. Xiphares, the son who is, like his father, an enemy of Rome, deplores sincerely the loss of Mithridates. The other son, Pharnace, favorable to the Romans, is all the more pleased because he is in love with Monime, the old king’s betrothed; now he hopes to win her for himself.
Xiphares tells Arbate that he, Xiphares, has no claims to the states Pharnace is to inherit and that his brother’s feelings toward the Romans are of little interest to him. His concern for Monime is another matter. The truth is that Xiphares himself was long in love with Monime, even before his father saw her. Although he remains silent as long as she is betrothed to his father, he is now convinced that Pharnace will be compelled to kill him in order to have her.
When Monime begs Xiphares to protect her against Pharnace, whom she does not love, Xiphares finally declares his love to her. At first he is afraid that she might receive his avowal with anger. Monime, however, is secretly in love with Xiphares. They do not open their hearts to each other because Pharnace appears. Pharnace urges Monime to support his cause in Pontus. She thanks him but explains that she cannot favor a friend of the Romans who killed her father. When Pharnace hints that another interest is prompting her, Xiphares confirms his suspicions by defending Monime’s freedom. The brothers then...
(The entire section is 995 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Mithridates Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!