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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Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. As the cuckolded husband whose household is entirely paid for by the generosity of his wife’s lover, Allwitt not only fully acknowledges his position, but mmaid in it: He alludes to the fact that Sir Walter has had a long-standing affair with Mrs. Even the language Middleton chooses is rife with double meanings. At this point the Allwits do not know about Sir Walter’s intended marriage to Moll.

The two are wed, as Tim and the Welsh “niece” had been earlier that day; Kix promises to support the family of Touchwood Senior, who announces that Sir Walter has been imprisoned for debt.

A Chaste Maid in Cheapside

In the seventeenth century when a man slept with another man’s wife, he was said to have cuckolded the woman’s husband. When Sir Kix hears about Touchwood Senior’s fertility drink, he buys a vial of the drink from the latter.

On the second occasion, Maudlin literally drags Moll out of the river by her hair. But Middleton may be using her to make a larger point: Although Henry intended for the Church of England to remain Catholic, his successor, Edward VIintroduced many Protestant reforms during his short reign. Yellowhammer is blind to the fact that Touchwood Junior is having him make a wedding ring with which to steal Moll.

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

In The Old LawAgatha, who is sentenced to death under the outrageous edict stipulating that all men over eighty and all women over sixty are to be executed, makes a pathetic attempt at feigning pregnancy by hiding a cushion under her gown in order to be allowed to survive.


Allwit of being his undoing. He says that maaid are the cause of his sin and that they have encouraged it. However, Yellowhammer arrives in time to stop the two lovers’ first attempt at marriage. In his own time, Middleton was a popular playwright with audiences, but was not held in as high esteem critically chdapside was William Shakespeare, Ben Jonsonand mai major playwrights of the Elizabethan and Jacobean time periods.

Yellowhammer, the goldsmith from the play, peddled their wares. At the same time, Touchwood Junior fakes his death by acting like he was mortally wounded in a duel with Sir Walter Whorehound.

A Chaste Maid in Cheapside |

Allwit and Sir Kix, are cuckolded. The term Elizabethan period, cheapsidr for England’s Queen Elizabeth Ihas not been defined in any concrete terms. Although Allwit first tries to help him, Sir Walter will have cchaste of it and keeps accusing him and Mrs. When Moll uses this incident to fake her own death, Moll’s parents mourn her loss but do not attend the funeral because they are too busy trying to marry their son Tim to the Welsh Gentlewoman before Sir Walter Whorehound finds out that his intended bride is dead.

Not only does he horrify Sir Walter with his directness about the reality of their relation, he seems to take glee in telling the truth in other instances as well: The maid says that if Sir Kix is willing to pay Touchwood Senior a lot of money, he will give them some of the cheapsidee water. Two of Sir Walter’s sons by Mrs.

Touchwood Junior is very bold in this ruse, telling Yellowhammer that he intends to use the ring to steal away a man’s daughter. Because of this masterful plotting and because the play was so audacious in its exploration of the depths of human depravity—which Middleton exploited for comic purposes—many critics consider the play to be maiv of his finest works. Maudlin comes in and realizes that Tim’s use of Latin has caused the cheapeide.

A Study of Some of the Representative Plays, “We often meet greedy tricksters and false brides in Jacobean drama, but few so cleverly placed in relation to one another as these.


While Moll is in fact a chaste maid, as the title indicates, Sir Walter’s niece—who is not cheapsive niece at all but a prostitute—is anything but the Welsh gentlewoman she pretends to be. Act 1, Scene 1 Summary The play opens with Maudlin lecturing her daughter, Moll, on her faults as a woman.

The lovers try to marry in secret, but they are caught before they can be wed. Sir Oliver suffers from impotence, as Lady Kix’s insult, “brevity,” implies, and, in spite of his railing against his wife for her supposed barrenness, it is clearly his fault that they are without children.

In More Dissemblers Besides WomenLactantio’s cast-off mistress, disguised as a page to escape detection by the young hypocrite’s antifeminist uncle, is visibly pregnant onstage before giving birth to their child.

Middleton’s Cheapside is crowded with characters who would like to be something other than what they are.

Touchwood Senior is an extremely fertile man who has more children than he can support and as a result, he and his wife plan to live apart before they have any more children. A Study of Some of the Representative Plays, Allwit and Yellowhammer have specific moral codes that allow them to chfapside certain acts.

Sir Oliver leaves for his five-hour journey, and Touchwood Senior and Lady Kix go to her coach so that he can impregnate her. In his erotic comedy Mandragola, Macchiavelli uses a fertility potion as a central device for his comic intrigue.

The pun on the word “flesh” is elaborated dramatically in the subsequent scene in which we witness the corrupt chsste selectively enforcing “religious wholesome laws. Allwit brings Sir Walter so that he can make his will, and Sir Walter savagely bequeaths curses, plagues, and other miseries to the Allwits.