The Widow of Ephesus Written by Gaius Petronius Arbiter, “The Widow of Ephesus,” is a story of love, devotion, and betrayal. This story takes place on the coast of Asia, in the city of Ephesus.
One of the main characters in this story, the widow, is grieving over her husband’s dead body when a soldier abandons his post to aid her. There are later versions of this story, in which all begin the same way. However, their details and conclusions are different and unique. When comparing the original story to the first alternate version, “Here it is Told of a Gentleman Whom the Emperor Had Hanged,” one might note many differences.In the original story, the widow never alters her husband’s dead corpse in any way. However, in the alternate version, the widow breaks off her husband’s tooth in order to match that of the missing body, which the Knight was supposed to be guarding (Novellino, para. 5).
Another difference between the two stories is the title in which the guard possesses. The first story depicts him as a soldier, where as the second story describes him as a Noble Knight. This difference suggests the different settings of time and place between the two stories. One other notable difference is the conclusion of each story.The first story never tells whether or not the widow and the soldier continue their love affair, but the second story tells, “Then the Knight, seeing what she had done with her husband, said, “Lady, since you showed so little regard for one towards whom you professed such love, so would you have even less regard for me. ” Then he left her, went about his business, and she remained behind in shame” (Novellino, para. 10).
In our next alternate version, “The Perfidious Widow,” differences immediately arise between it and the original story. As in the previous story, our guard carries a different title.In this one, he is referred to as a Captain instead of a Noble Knight or Soldier (Rapporport, para. 2). In addition, the Captain in this story tells the Widow that he is going to run instead of committing suicide. Also, the hair of the dead husband’s corpse is plucked out to match that of the corpse which was stolen from the gallows, instead of a tooth extracted. Another difference is that the Widow is not accompanied by a handmaiden.
In this story, the Captain hears the Widow crying in the distance, whereas in the previous story, he travels to a nearby Abbey to look for another corpse to replace his missing one.Finally, in the end of this version, the Captain does not leave the Widow and cause her shame. Our final story, “A Widow Digs Up Her Deceased Husband and Hangs Him on the Gallows,” even more differences arise. In the opening of this story, it is said, “Now and then there are Widows who are not only happy that their husbands have died, but even those who fail to protect their dead husband’s bodies beneath the earth in order to quickly gain another husband,” (Petzoldt, para. 1). Then, the story goes to tell how the widow “bemoaned,” (para. ) her husband’s death many days.
This is different from all the other stories, as they never allude that the Widow is happy her husband is dead. In this version, not just one tooth is knocked out, but all of the teeth of the dead husband are knocked out to match the corpse of the man missing from the gallows. There are similarities to the first version we studied, “Here it is Told of a Gentleman Whom the Emperor Had Hanged,” in that the Widow is basically tricked into giving the dead husband’s body in exchange for the missing body the guard lost.
Camp Scene, Ladies in Camp 1860-1865
Camp Scene, Ladies in Camp 1860-1865.
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