Summary of 'Ariodante'
The action is set in Edinburgh in legendary times. The Scottish king’s daughter Ginevra is being wooed by Polinesso even though she is in love with Ariodante her betrothed. To take revenge on Ariodante, Polinesso takes advantage of the unrequited love that Ginevra’s attendant Dalinda feels for him and convinces her to dress up as Ginevra and let him enter the royal chambers. When Ariodante appears to meet with Ginevra that night he is so devastated by the scene he encounters that he jumps off a cliff into the sea. Ariodante’s brother Lurcanio, another witness to the sham tryst, describes it to the king who condemns his daughter to death for her scandalous behaviour. However, Ariodante is not really dead but hiding in the woods with Dalinda now so disenchanted in her love for Polinesso that she confesses to the deceit. For the sake of Ariodante’s honour, Lurcanio challenges Polinesso to a duel and kills him. In order to save Ginevra from death, Ariodante appears and describes to the King how they have all been duped.