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...
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