A tale older than time itself tells of a Duke who went by the name Theseus. He was lord and governor of Athens, the greatest conqueror to have ever been met, and there was no one with more greatness than he. With his wisdom and chivalry, he conquered the Amazons and wedded the Queen Ypolita. If there was time to spare I would tell you of how he conquered the Amazons, and the great battle of the time; how Ypolita was besieged and the wedding ceremony was the most beautiful all around. Instead I will continue where I left off; with the Duke I had mentioned before. Even with all of his pride that he held, as he looked aside he saw ladies, kneeled on the highway two by two. They were dressed in black and cried awful sounds that were never heard before; the cries would not stop until they were heard by the Duke and answered.
Theseus: Who do you think you are, disturbing my homecoming with crying? Are you envious of my success,or rather has someone injured or offended you? Tell me why you are dressed in black, and then tell me if I can solve your troubles.
Widow I: Great Lord who was blessed with fortune and victory, who now lives as conqueror, your glory and honor does not grieve us. Instead we ask for your mercy on our agony, some drop of pity! It is easily seen that we are wretches, and fate has been unfortunate to us; we have been waiting all night for you.
Theseus rode forth to the city of Thebes with his army beside him. He sent his beloved Ypolita and her beautiful sister Emelye to Athens to dwell. He rode with the red statue of Mars, spear and shield in hand,in his mind. The conqueror rode to Thebes where he dismounted gracefully in afield with an intent to fight. He put his army forward and by assault he won the city and gave back to the women the bones of their dead husbands. While scavenging the grounds two young Knights were found, captured, and sent to prison under Theseus; their names were Arcite and Palamon.
Widow I: I, the wretch who cries so vigorously, was once wife to the King of Cappaneus, who died at Thebes. All of us who are in this condition have lost our husbands at that town. The old Creon who is now lord of the city of Thebes, filled with great anger, dishonored the dead bodies by piling them into a heap only to be eaten by hounds as an insult.
Theseus: Do not worry, as a true Knight I swear that I will avenge every one of you upon the tyrant Creon. All the people of Greece will talk of how Creon was served by Theseus, and got his well-deserved death.