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Theseus is mad at the ruler (Creon) of a nearby city called Thebes after four women that were once royal tell him that Creon refused to cremate or bury the bodies of their deceased husbands
Theseus kills Creon when fighting for the city of Thebes. That night two of his soldiers looting discover two nearly dead soldiers wearing matching clothing and armor that identified them as cousins “Sons of two sisters in the royal family of Thebes.” (Palamon and Arcite), Theseus decides instead of killing them he’d heal them and take them back to Athens as prisoners
Over several years in jail, both Palamon and Arcite fall in love with Emelye as they can watch her tend to the garden every so often
After some time, Arcite wanders in the woods alone thinking about what to do next because he wants to be closer to her. Coincidentally, Palamon has just escaped the prison and is running in the forest when he runs into Arcite. They confront each other, both claiming Emelye and getting into a duel
Theseus agrees to a tournament between the two: they have 50 weeks to gather armies of 100 men and face off. Whoever wins takes Emelye’s hand in marriage
Saturn comforts Venus and at his command, the ground shakes violently and Arcite’s horse throws him off and crushes his chest, and despite all efforts to heal him, he ends up dying. Right before he dies, he confesses his love directly to Emelye, but also reminds her to keep Palamon in mind if looking for another love as he is a worthy knight
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