Epicoene, or the Silent Woman, a comedy, is one of the most popular of Jonson’s dramas. Morose, an egoistic bachelor, with an insane aversion to noise, proposes to disinherit his nephew Sir Dauphine Eugenic, whom he suspects of ridiculing him, and to marry, if he can find, a Silent Woman. Cutbeard, his barber, has found such a one in Epicone. Immediately after the marriage, Epicone recovers the vigorous use of tongue, to the dismay of Morose, which is increased by the arrival of his nephew and friends, with a party of “Collegiate Ladies” and musicians to celebrate the bridal. Driven frantic by the hubhub, and having in vain consulted a pseudo-divine and a canon lawyer as to possible grounds of divorce, he accepts his nephew’s offer to rid him of Epicone for five hundred pounds a year and the reversion of his property to him after his death, whereupon Sir Dauphine pulls off Epicone’s disguise and reveals her to be a boy whom he had trained for the part. Among the characters who contribute to the humour of the play are Captain Otter, who always speaks under correction when his wife is present; Sir Amorons La Foole, a Braggart and coward; the Collegiate Ladies, and Sir John Daw, a braggart knight, who pretends to learning and collects the titles of classical works without knowing their contents.

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