Old Wives' Tale

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A play largely in prose by Peele, published 1595.

The play is a satire on the romantic dramas of the time, the first English work of this kind. Two brothers are searching for their sister Delia, who is held captive by the magician Sacrapant. The brothers also fall into his hands. They are all rescued by the knight Eumenides aided by Jack's ghost, who is impelled by motives of gratitude, because the knight had borne the expense of Jack's funeral. The play is rich in songs and magical invocations such as: ‘Gently dippe, | but not too deepe, For feare thou make the goulden beard to weep.’

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).

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