INTRODUCTION. Most scholars believe that Thomas Middleton’s A Chaste Maid in Cheapside was first performed sometime between and , although. Complete summary of Thomas Middleton’s A Chaste Maid in Cheapside. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of A Chaste Maid in Cheapside. Thomas Middleton’s early 17th-century city comedy is set very particularly during Lent, a time when eating and trading in meat was forbidden.

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Kix encourages her husband to buy it. The infant, which, like the country girl’s child, is a sign of the physical vitality within the world of A Chaste Maidagain occasions the unmasking of the animal appetites of religious hypocrites.

They are neither refined nor scrupulous. The promoters, hired spies who confiscated meat that was bought illegally during Lent, are one example of a government agency that enforced religious practices. Allwit allows Sir Walter to be his wife’s lover to the point where Allwit has lost the privilege of sleeping with his wife at all, as a scene with the jealous Sir Walter indicates.

A Chaste Maid in Cheapside, by Thomas Middleton

Chate wrote his plays during the late-Elizabethan period and was a contemporary of William Shakespeare and Ben Jonsontwo playwrights with whom he is often compared. Howard-Hill notes in his entry on Middleton for Dictionary of Literary Biography, “There is small security in his comic world for any of them, and even the best, like Touchwood and Moll, can thrive only by their wits.

In return, Sir Walter covers all of the Allwits’ living expenses.

They on the other hand, are rich but have been unable to conceive, a fact that makes both of them bitter and causes them to fight because they need an heir to claim the property that will otherwise go to Sir Walter. He also tells Yellowhammer that Sir Walter is a ladies man who has been sleeping with the z of a man named Allwit for seven years.

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In his almost achingly lovely paean to marriage, he praises his wife’s willingness to be separated from him until a time when they can afford the children their desire engenders.

A Chaste Maid in Cheapside – Act 1, Scene 1 Summary & Analysis

Act 4, Scene 1. This book offers essays about Middleton from three different centuries, giving readers an overview of Middleton’s critical reception throughout the years. Tim and his tutor get in a semantic argument in Latin which is broken up by Maudlin Yellowhammer. Obsessed with their desire for a family, they are willing to “give a thousand pound to purchase fruitfulness,” an offer tailor-made for Touchwood Sr.

Yellowhammer and Maudlin discuss the impending arrival of a knight named Sir Walter Whorehound. Dahanna is the one who notifies Mr. The women squabble over their line order for going into the christening. Farr notes of the play in her book Thomas Middleton and the Drama of Realism: Sir Walter Whorehound wishes he possessed the wealth his title suggests he merits. Many of the male characters in the play have engaged in extramarital affairs and so have some of the women.

Productions of the full play were presented at Harvard University and at Leeds University in ; multiple other stagings have occurred from the early s on, [2] and the play is now Middleton’s cjaste most staged play, after The Changeling and Women Beware Women. At the funeral, Moll and Touchwood Junior rise from their coffins and the mourning turns to celebration.

Yellowhammer enters his goldsmith shop and asks his wife, Maudlin, what she is doing. Tim, a fatuous scholar, returns to London from Cambridge University with his Latin tutor. What begins as a display of bourgeois pseudopoliteness becomes an image of comic animality. In fact, some critics have gone so far as to call Middleton a realist, since he, above many other playwrights of the time, was so adept at exposing the harsh, unromanticized reality of human vice and corruption.


While Moll is in fact a chaste maid, as the title indicates, Sir Walter’s niece—who is not his niece at all but a prostitute—is anything but the Welsh gentlewoman she pretends to be. This is evident in the apparently deliberate dramatic parallelism between Sir Walter’s latest child by Mistress Allwit and the infant brought to Touchwood Sr.

Mulryne says in his entry on Middleton chepaside British Writers, “The play’s gusto and seriousness, combined, make it one of theater’s richest statements on money, sex, and society.

Yellowhammer leaves with Moll whom, he says, he is going to lock up.

A Chaste Maid in Cheapside

In this area, prostitutes also peddled their wares and the area itself had an unseemly reputation. Middleton’s Cheapside is crowded with characters who would like to be something other than what they are. Act 2, Scene 2. For example, many scholars consider Thomas Middleton an Elizabethan dramatist even though the majority of his plays were written and performed during the Jacobean era. Moll arrives with Touchwood Senior and the secret ceremony begins but is broken up by Yellowhammer and Sir Walter.

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