Abstract and Keywords
Endymion was one of a series of exquisitely crafted comedies written by John Lyly for performance at court. The play conforms to the five-act structure of Roman New Comedy, deploys exit lines that have their origins in Terence, and is peopled by characters with Graeco-Roman names denoting their functions, and is redolent with associations with the ancient world. Eumenides, the faithful friend of the title figure, for example, derives his name from the Greek for ‘well-disposed’; the role and diminutive stature of Sir Tophas' young servant are signified by a name suggestive of both Greek epiton (‘follower’) and epitemnein (‘cut short’); while the opposing stances of the two poles of the hero's affections, Tellus and Cynthia, are implied by names evocative of the earth and moon of classical myth.
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