Title: The Widow’s Tears.
Author: George Chapman.
Date: c. 1612.
Language Difficulty Rating: 6 (moderate).
Setting: The Island of Cyprus.
Structurally speaking, The Widow’s Tears is an interesting play: the first half is highly farcical, but the comedy to a large degree gives way to a more serious second-half. The highlight may be the appearance in the very last scene of the governor of Cyprus, whose ridiculous and hilarious double talk makes him one of the funniest characters of the era, even if his role is a brief one.
Our Story: Lysander suspects his wife is unfaithful to him, even though he has no evidence to support his hunch, other than the teasing of his brother Tharsalio. Lysander concocts and carries out an outrageous scheme to fake his own death, and to return home in disguise in the hopes of catching his wife’s infidelity. In the meantime, Tharsalio, as the most self-confident man in the world, takes on the challenge of wooing his former employer, the wealthy widow Eudora.
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Still-Familiar Words and Phrases that Appeared in English Literature for the First Time
in The Widow’s Tears (according to the OED):
tear (something) to atoms
the phrase all of a piece
turn the tables