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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Elizabethan dramas were performed on stages that were vastly different from those used in classical and medieval times. 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.

Her parents are so caught up with trying to marry Tim to the Welsh gentlewoman that they do not attend the funeral where Moll and Mais Junior rise from their coffins and are happily married. Allwit has an affair with Sir Walter Whorehound.

Up until then, the Church in England had been the English division of the Catholic Church and thus had the pope as its head, as other regional Catholic Chealside did.

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. Allwit is aware of his cuckolding and allows it to happen, since Sir Walter pays for all of the Allwits’s expenses in return for the privilege of sleeping with Mrs. In this essay, Wallace considers Cjaste deft investigation of truth and artifice. While some only call dramas Elizabethan if they were written from toElizabeth’s actual reign, others call any drama up to —when the theaters were closed—Elizabethan drama.

Dahanna is the one who notifies Mr.

shakespearefactory | A CHASTE MAID IN CHEAPSIDE

Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia. The Sir Walter-Allwits’ plot, then, may raise some serious ethical questions; but, as is evident in the christening party scene and the strong presence of the fertility theme much is made of Mistress Allwit’s pregnancy and the Allwit household has a total of seven childrenthere is something comically alive about it. Finally, the two lovers fake their deaths. By marrying Moll, Sir Walter will get two thousand pounds in a dowry.


Yellowhammer is blind to the fact that Touchwood Junior is having him make a wedding ring with which to steal Moll. The lovers try to marry in secret, but they are caught before they can be wed. Moll’s parents, who want a daughter wed to a knight, and Sir Walter who wants Moll’s parents’ gold. They are neither refined nor scrupulous. 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.

They all deny it and Sir Walter says that if anybody else does sleep with her, he will marry somebody else and leave them all without money.

Sir Oliver says, “Or else I had a bad head. Perhaps not surprisingly the cast frequently look as uncomfortable as a group of nuns at an orgy. English Renaissance plays s plays Plays by Thomas Middleton. Kix in her coach. One of the most famous examples from the play is the scene with the two promoters. She sings and Tim is impressed. When news is brought that Lady Kix is pregnant thus ruining Sir Walter’s prospectsthe Allwits kick him out and plan to sell all Sir Walter’s gifts and move to a home in The Strand.

Allwit is so strong that Sir Walter is jealous of Allwit. In his time, Middleton was an extremely popular playwright and was often commissioned to write and produce plays for noble or political clients.

To avoid sinking completely into depravity, Middleton’s characters need those lovely speeches.

A Chaste Maid in Cheapside

From this point on the Yellowhammers try to keep Moll under lock and key until she is to be wed to Sir Walter. Ultimately, Tim accepts his wife when she says that, despite her past, marriage makes her an honest woman. Yellowhammer further notes, “His creditors are so greedy.

While Allwit refers to it as Sir Walter’s when they are alone, when others come in, such as the wet nurse, they refer to it as Allwit’s child. For even here Middleton is able to affirm some aspects of a basically unattractive situation. InMiddleton started serving as city chronologer, a post he held until his death.


The Welsh Gentlewoman is married to Tim at the same time as the supposed funeral of Moll Yellowhammer. Davy, Sir Walter’s poor relative and personal valet, comes across Mr.

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.

The romping is all half-hearted, there is a lot of slightly desperate mugging, and since the play is written in what amounts to a series of vignettes, it is hard for such a large cast to establish themselves with the audience.

Even in this plot, love triumphs over all odds; and the double wedding with which the play concludes—Touchwood Jr. Allwit and two servants if anybody else has slept with Mrs. As for the Allwits, in the end they use the property and possessions that they have gotten from Sir Walter to better their position in life.

Within Middleton’s logic of remaining true to oneself, the Welsh gentlewoman is an interesting aberration. 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 one of his finest works.

Sir Kix is so happy when his wife conceives that he offers to feed and house Touchwood Senior and all of his children including any other children that Touchwood Senior might have in the future. In this action, love must be liberated from the tyranny of money, or at least there must be a reconciliation of Eros and Pecunia, a harmony toward which the play as a whole must move; for the drama’s hero and heroine, Touchwood Jr.