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The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia – Characters and Short Summary

 The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia

- Sir Philip Sidney

The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia – Characters and Short Summary

The Countess of Pembroke's ArcadiaCharacters and Short Summary

The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia, also referred to as Arcadia, is a long pastoral romance of Sir Philip Sydney in the late sixteenth century. After completing a form of his text, Sidney subsequently expanded and revised his work. Researchers today often point to these two notable forms as the Old Arcadia and the New Arcadia. The first version was completed by the late 1570s. Sidney then went on to write a revised and expanded version known as the New Arcadia that remained unfinished at the time of his death in 1586.

    However, Arcadia is by far Sydney's most ambitious literary work, and is as significant as his sonnets.

    👉 The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia - Characters

    👉 Bacillius, the king of Arcadia

    Bacillius is the central character in the novel. He is the ruler of Arcadia kingdom in the Greek archipelago. Although he came to rule by inheritance, he was generous and outspoken and good to his citizens.

    👉 Gynesia

    Gynesia is the wife of Bacillias and they seem happy and loving. However, when she meets Cleophila, she is overwhelmed by a will that seems to confuse her thinking process, and she begins to act in a way that appears outside of character.

    👉 Pamela

    Pamela is the eldest daughter of Bacillias and Gynesia.

    👉 Philoclea

    Philoclea is the youngest daughter of Bacillus and Gynesia and possesses incredible beauty. It is her beauty that makes the chain of events in the novel dynamic as Pyrocles insists on disguising himself as a woman and forces her to meet him.

    👉 Pyrocles / Cleophila

    Pyrocles is a heroic prince who is famous for his bravery and courage. He saves the family of Bacillias from being attacked by a lion. He falls in love with Philoclea even after seeing her personally for the first time but seeing her portrait and is determined to meet her. He disguises himself as an Amazonian woman named Cleophila who is at once attractive to both Philoclea and her father.

    👉 Midoras / Doras

    Midoras is the cousin of Pyrocles. He is as brave as his cousin and when Pyrocles protects the family from a lion attack he fights and kills an attacking bear. He also manages to protect relatively angry citizens against drunken violence.

    Initially, he found it quite ridiculous to go on a search only with Pyrocles. He is dressed as a shepherd and is taken away by the staff and his family.

    Tactically, he pretends to flirt with Mopsa, the servant's daughter, to avoid being distracted by his real purpose. He flees with Pamela but reveals a dark side when he can't resist the urge to rape her. At the end of the novel, when Bacillus wakes up and all charges against him are dropped, he is free to marry Pamela.

    👉 Dametas

    Dametas is a slave of Bacillus. He was given the task of protecting the king's daughters. He is a peripheral character but nonetheless important to the novel because he allows Midoras to stay and Pamela to follow.

    👉 Euarchus

    Euarchus coincidentally is the father of Pyrocles and the uncle of Midoras. He is a strong but just ruler in the same vein as Bacillus and men are friends too. Although he has no desire to occupy Arcadia, he agrees to act as guardian of the state to ensure stability.

    👉 Philanax

    Philanax is a loyal subject of Bacillus. Despite the undeniable dissent, he seems to have maintained stability for the most part, which he managed to bring down. He served Bacillus anxiously and faithfully for the good of the kingdoms and its future.

    👉 The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia Summary

    The story happens in an area of old Greece called Arcadia. Duke Bacillius ruled Arcadia well, maintaining peace and prosperity in the region. Bacillius has a loyal wife, Gynesia, and two beautiful daughters, Pamela and Philoclia. An unscrupulous servant, Demetas, takes care of the family of his wife, Miso, and their daughter, Mopsa, Duke Bacillius.

    Curious about the future of his family and country, Bacillius travels to Oracle in Delphus to get a prophecy. Surprisingly, Oracle tells him that Pamela will be stolen from him, Philoclia will enter into an inappropriate love affair, and Gynesia will cheat on him. Bacillius tells his friend Philanax what happened and leaves Philanax in charge of the kingdom. Bacillius then left Arcadia with his family and retired to the countryside with Demetas' family.

    Pyroclus, a young prince, sees Philoclia leaving and falls in love with her. Accompanied by his friend Midoras, Pyroclus disguises himself as Cleophila, a female warrior, and goes to the priest lodge of Bacillius to meet Philoclia in person. Bacillius falls in love with Cleophila and invites her to stay with the family. Meanwhile, Musidorus is attracted to Pamela and disguises himself as a shepherd named Doras to get closer to her.

    One day while listening to the songs of the shepherds, a lion and a bear attacked. Cleophila kills the lion. Instantly, Gynesia suspects Cleophila of being a man, not a woman, while Philoclia feels deep affection for her. Doras, on the other hand, kills the bear, saves Pamela, but she is not interested in him (Doras). He (Doras) continues to follow her (Pamela), but to hide his (Doras) tracks that all the activities of his affection point to Mopsa, the daughter of Demetas, who is unaware of the fact that Dorus loves Pamela and not him (Mopsa). Eventually, Doris reveals that he is a prince, and Pamela accepts his offer and runs away with Doris.

    Pyroclus also reveals himself to Philoclia who agrees to marry him, but before they can do so, a group of Arcadians arrives, angry at Bacillius for neglecting his role as leader. The group carried out violence.

    Mussidorus tells Pyroclus that he is going to run away with Pamela. Pryrocles and Philoclea cannot do the same thing. Because Bacillius constantly observes Pyroclus, who (Pyroclus) fell in love with Cleophila, and Gynecia realizes that Pyrocles is a man and falls in love with her. Guinea tells Pyroclase that she will reveal her identity unless she sleeps with him. Pyroclus pretends to agree, sending Gynesia to meet him in a cave. He (Gynecia) pretends to be Cleophila and sends Bacillias to the same place as he wants to sleep with her. He (Gynecia) hopes that husband and wife will confuse each other.

    Meanwhile, Midoras and Pamela set sail for the nearest seaport. On the way, Museidoras tries to rape her, but they prevent another crowd from arriving from Arcadia. Meanwhile, Dametus finds Pamela missing and goes to find her with Philoclia. He intercepts Philoclia and Pyrocles in bed and stops them while trying to fetch Bacillias.

    Bacillus and Gynesia spend the night together, but Bacillius accidentally drinks the poison that Gynesia prepared for Pyrocles and dies. Philanax comes to investigate and decides to execute everyone involved in the death of Bacillius. He throws Pyrocles in prison and then goes out to look for Midoras and Pamela. He discovers that their captives are being held captive by those who want to pay their ransom. Philanax kills members of the mob and puts Midoras in prison with his friend.

    Pamela claims to be Arcadia's new leader, as is her right, but Philanax refuses to allow her to ascend until her father's death has been adequately investigated. Meanwhile, the people of Arcadia continue to revolt in anticipation of a new leader. Different parties support different claimants to the throne.

    It was then that Euarchus, ruler of a nearby province, came to see Bacillias. Euarchus is the father of Pyrocles, but he has no idea that his son is also in Arcadia. Euarchus is persuaded to rule Arcadia while Philanax executes the murder of Bacillius. Gynecia, Pyrocles and Musidorus were sentenced to death for their various crimes. As soon as the trial was over, Euarchus learned that his son had been involved in the incident, but he decided to uphold his death sentence. However, when the execution was about to take place, the corpse of Bacillius began to move. The Duke awakens from a deep coma just in time to forgive the princes and marry the princesses. Eventually a happy ending is inevitable for everyone.


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