Revenge For Honor

by George Chapman
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"They're Only Truly Great Who Are Truly Good"

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Last Updated on September 19, 2016, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 290

Context: Almanazor, Caliph of Arabia, enraged at his son's supposed rape of Caropia, wife of the soldier Mura, condemns the son, Abilqualit, to be blinded. When later Almanazor learns that the soldiers have invaded his castle to rescue Abilqualit, he, suspecting a plot to overthrow him, has his son strangled by mutes. Almanazor then drops dead as a result of inhaling poison from a handkerchief given him by his ambitious and villainous younger son, Abrahen. Upon Abrahen's leaving the scene, Abilqualit, who had not really been strangled by the faithful mutes, escapes from the city. Abrahen is proclaimed caliph and easily gains the love of the fickle and ambitious Caropia. The next day, when confronted by Abilqualit, Abrahen stabs Caropia to keep Abilqualit from enjoying her love; he then inhales from the poisoned handkerchief and dies. The dying Caropia, in jealousy, stabs Abilqualit, who, as he dies bequeathes the title of caliph upon Tarisa, his faithful old tutor. The play ends thus:

And for those soldiers and those our most faithful
Mutes, that my life saved once, let them be well
Rewarded. Death and I are almost now
At unity. Farewell!
Sure I shall not
Survive these sorrows long. Mutes, take those traitors
To prison; we will shortly pass their sentence,
Which shall be death inevitable. Take up
That fatal instrument of poisonous mischief,
And see it burned, Gaselles. Gentlemen,
Fate has made us your king against our wishes.
Long live Tarisa, Caliph of Arabia!
We have no time now for your acclamations;
These are black sorrow's festival. Bear off
In state that royal body; for the other,
Since 'twas his will, let them have burial,
But in obscurity. By this it may,
As an evident rule, be understood,
They're only truly great who are truly good.

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