"The Broken Heart" is a tragedy play by John Ford, and published in 1633.
The setting of the play is Laconia, where Penthea is married to a brutal and jealous nobleman, Bassanes, who she is not in love with. It is Orgilus she loves. They indended to marry but Ithocles, Penthea's controlling brother got in the way and forced her to marry Bassanes. She feels so imprisoned in her marriage, cast down that she can not return the love of Orgilus.
Orgilus, whose life has been destroyed suffers the pain of knowing Penthea die of self-starvation and is determined to take revenge on Ithocles. He asked the permission of his father, Crotolon, to study in Athens and leave Sparta. In reality he did not go to Athens but stayed put and disguises himself as a scholar, out to get his revenge.
Meanwhile, Ithocles has been extremely successful in war. He returns from the conquest of Messene and is greatly favoured by the old ailing King Amyclas, that he was given the hand of his only daughter, the Princess Calantha, to become his bride. Calanthra is being courted by her cousin Nearchus, Prince of Argos.
At a feast, Calantha hears of the sad death of Penthea and, soon after, this was followed by the death of her own father, the King. A third blow for Calanthra is the news of the murder of Ithocles, executed from the vengeance of Orgilus. Everyone is surprised that Calanthra continues the feast and dancing, then orders the execution of Orgilus. Supervising the corpse of Ithocles and the death of Orgilus, Calanthra also dies of a broken heart, leaving her kingdom to her cousin, Nearchus.