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THE SUBJECT

CREON, King of Thebes, being at war with the Teleboans or Taphians, under the command of Ptereias, sends an army against them. This is commanded by Amphitryon, who leaves his wife Alcmena pregnant at his departure from Thebes. During his absence from home, Jupiter, assuming his form, and Mercury that of his servant Sosia, present themselves to Alcmena, as though just returned from the expedition against the Taphians. By means of this stratagem, Jupiter is admitted to the embraces of Alcmena. While Mercury is keeping watch at the door of Amphitryon's house, Sosia, who has just arrived at Thebes with Amphitryon, makes his appearance for the purpose of announcing to Alcmena his master's return. Mercury, pretending that he himself is the real Sosia, and that the other is an impostor, drives him away from the door. He goes back to his master, who returns with him to the house, and on meeting Alcmena, she denies his assertion that he has but that moment returned from the expedition, and now presents himself to her for the first time since his return. On this, Amphitryon charges her with infidelity, and goes away to the harbour to find a witness who may persuade Alcmena of the truth of his assertions. When he returns, he is first driven away from the house by Mercury, and is afterwards accused by Jupiter of attempting to personate Amphitryon, which person Jupiter asserts himself to be. The dispute is referred to Blepharo, the pilot of Amphitryon, who. after making minute enquiries into the matter, professes himself utterly unable to decide between them. In the Fifth Act, at the moment in which Alcmena is delivered of Hercules and Iphiclus, a violent. peal of thunder is heard, and Amphitryon swoons with the shock. Bromia, the attendant of Alcmena, comes out of the house, and having raised Amphitryon from the ground, on his recovery informs him of the delivery of Alcmena. At this juncture, Jupiter descends in his own character, and reveals the mystery to Amphitryon, who then becomes reconciled with his wife.

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