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Amphitryon

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or, the Two Sosias


A Comedy


(1690)


Edited by Sir Walter Scott in 1808.


Egregiam verò laudem, et spolia ampla refertis,
Una dolo Divûm si fæmina victa duorum est.
--Virgil

This work by Dryden is based on Molière's 1668 play of the same name which was in turn based on the story of the Greek mythological character Amphitryon as told by Plautus in his play from ca. 190-185 B.C. Dryden's play, which focuses on themes of sexual morality and power, premiered in London in 1690. Notable innovations in Dryden's adaptation compared to previous plays on Amphitryon included music by Henry Purcell and the character of Phaedra, who flirts with Sosia but is eventually won over by Mercury’s promises of wealth.

Although popular with the public, Dryden's play was attacked by Jeremy Collier in his 1698 pamphlet entitled "A Short View of the Immortality of the Stage" for undermining social mores and attacking the political values of his day. The work was later altered significantly by John Hawkesworth for a production in 1756, with him removing what he considered the morally objectionable material.


"Mr Tonson, Yarmouth, Novemb. 24.—90.

"You'l wonder perhaps at this from a stranger; but ye reason of it may perhaps abate somewhat of ye miracle, and it's this. On Thursday the twentyth instant, I receiv'd Mr Drydens Amphytrio: I leave out the Greeke termination, as not so proper in my opinion, in English. But to passe that; I liked the play, and read it over with as much of criticisme and ill nature as ye time (being about one in ye morning, and in bed,) would permit. Going to sleep very well pleasd, I could not leave my bed in ye morning without this sacrifice to the authours genius: it was too sudden to be correct, but it was very honestly meant, and is submitted to yours and Mr Ds. disposall.


DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

Jupiter.
Mercury.
Phœbus.
Amphitryon, the Theban General.
Sosia, his Slave.
Gripus, a Theban Judge.
Polidas,   Officers of the Theban Army.
Tranio,  

Alcmena, Wife to Amphitryon.
Phædra,   Her Slaves.
Bromia,  
Night.


SCENE,—Thebes.


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