Places: Epicœne

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1616

First produced: 1609

Type of work: Drama

Type of plot: Comedy

Time of work: Early seventeenth century

Asterisk denotes entries on real places.

Places Discussed*London

*London. EpicœneJonson provides limited references to location, setting the play only in “London,” an abstraction rather than a detailed place. The play’s scenes move from home to home, beginning with that of Ned Clerimont’s house, where the key characters meet in the first four scenes. Another scene is set in Sir John Daw’s house, and three scenes are set in Captain Tom Otter’s house, and then the plays moves on to Morose’s home.

Morose’s house

Morose’s house. Since Morose is the center of attention, the wedding is his, and the joke is played on him, it is appropriate that most of the action occurs in his home. The wedding takes place there, as guests, food, and entertainment pour in from other homes. Unable to stand any noise except that of his own voice, Morose locks himself in his attic to escape the shrill chiding of his new wife. Although he goes to the law courts to seek a divorce, viewers hear about what happens here in his home, and the final unveiling of the bride takes place here too.

BibliographyBarish, Jonas A. Ben Jonson and the Language of Prose Comedy. New York: Norton, 1960. An influential work, one that is essential to any study of Jonson’s comedies.Brock, D. Heyward. A Ben Jonson Companion. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1983. A valuable source of information on Jonson’s work, life, and times. A bibliography is included.Enck, John J. Jonson and the Comic Truth. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1966. Essential to any study of Jonson’s comedies. Barish and Enck’s studies are in many ways complementary.Mirabelli, Philip. “Silence, Wit and Wisdom in The Silent Woman.” Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 29 (Spring, 1989): 309-336. Argues that Truewit knows all, sees all, and knows that Epicœne is a boy. Purports that Jonson has a moral commentator, Truewit, who is motivated by the highest ideal of friendship.Newman, Karen. “City Talk: Women and Commodification in Jonson’s Epicœne.” English Literary History 56 (Fall, 1989): 503-518. An insightful, feminist essay on history, but admittedly extra-literary.Noyes, Robert Gale. Ben Jonson on the English Stage: 1660-1776. New York: Benjamin Blom, 1963. Provides valuable information on performers and productions, as provided in contemporary records by such diverse notables as John Dryden, John Dennis, Samuel Pepys, Jeremy Collier, Thomas Shadwell, and William Congreve.
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