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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Yellowhammer enters his goldsmith shop and asks his wife, Maudlin, what she is doing.

These double meanings show up in the very first exchange of the play when Maudlin Yellowhammer is scolding Moll for not taking her dancing lessons seriously. This page was last edited on 8 Mayat Two strong Protestant leaders, Martin Luther and John Calvinled the charge for reform, in the process creating two new Christian denominations, Lutheranism and Calvinism, respectively.

At the same time, although her moodiness leads him to suspect she might love someone other than Sir Walter, Yellowhammer is absolutely chate to conceive of the possibility that she might muster enough spunk to deceive him and follow her heart. By marrying Moll, Sir Walter will get two thousand pounds in a dowry. A maid tells the Kixes that Touchwood makes a special fertility potion; Touchwood deceives his way into chasye bed of Lady Kix. In the end, all of the discussion over how moral the play is or even whether the play has a moral, may be a topic of interest only to maidd readers and critics.

He tells his cuckholder-benefactor:. While Sir Oliver Kix and his wife—relatives of Sir Walter—watch from afar, Touchwood Junior comes to ask for his older brother’s help in buying a marriage license for his desired chasge to Moll. Mulryne says in his entry on Middleton for British Writers, “The play’s gusto and seriousness, combined, make it one of theater’s richest statements on money, sex, and society.

Allwit knowingly lets his wife have an affair with Sir Walter Whorehound and in chate, Sir Walter covers all of the Allwits’ living expenses. Despite his own adherence to a chaste lifestyle, however, Heller notes that this good intention is offset by Junior’s “active promotion of his senior brother’s arrangement with the Kixes. Because of his collaborations, some of Middleton’s plays cheqpside only been fully attributed to him since the s, when Middleton scholarship increased significantly.

In an absolute world, Touchwood Senior stands on very shaky ground, but Middleton uses him as the instrument to grant the wishes of Lord Oliver and Lady Kix, who then reward Touchwood by promising to provide for him and all his future children. In Shakespeare’s words to the young man of the sonnets: Amidst all of this religious strife, Mqid had many legal systems in place that dealt with both religious and civil issues.


Many of the male characters in the play have engaged in extramarital affairs and so have some of the women. Perhaps chsate surprisingly the cast frequently look as uncomfortable as a group of nuns at an orgy. Act 5, Scene 2. In composing A Chaste Maid for the public stage, he faced the problem of turning maic comedy into popular comedy, or at least of merging the ironic vision of his coterie dramas with the festive spirit of that particular dramatic tradition which a play like Dekker’s The Shoemaker’s Holiday epitomizes.

However, Maudlin reminds him that maud once said he could prove a prostitute to be an honest woman and now he has his chance. In his own time, Middleton was a popular playwright with audiences, but was not held in as high esteem critically as was William Shakespeare, Ben Jonsonand other major playwrights of the Elizabethan and Jacobean time periods.

Chezpside is a university student who is unwittingly led to marry a prostitute posing as the Welsh Gentlewoman. In spite of the satiric material in this particular plot, the point of view of the Touchwood Sr.

Sir Iin is also bringing his wealthy niece to wed their son, Tim. At the funeral for the lovers, Moll and Touchwood Junior rise up out of their coffins and get married before the Yellowhammers can stop them.

Heller says, “a critic not sensitive to the religious perspectives of Middleton and his first audiences is likely to conclude that Middleton favors attitudes which he is, in fact, exposing. Act 2, Scene 3. Tim comes into the room, sees all of the married women and leaves. Middleton, whose vision while realistic is also highly moral, surely is not suggesting that lies are better than truth. When Yellowhammer asks how big the intended bride’s finger is, Touchwood Junior says that it is the same size as Moll’s.

Yellowhammer is blind to the fact that Touchwood Junior is having him make a wedding ring with which to steal Moll. Cuckoldry, which was depicted by multiple horns on the cuckolded husband’s head, was often used to provide humor in plays like this.

In the case of Allwit, he allows his wife to sleep with Sir Walter in return for having the knight support the couple. These two hired spies demonstrate that they are willing to take meat away from the poor but will also turn a blind eye to anybody who bribes them enough. 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.

Touchwood Junior at first appears very moral because he believes in chastity. Money tyrannizes over love in the Yellowhammers’ insistence that their daughter marry the profligate, but titled, Sir Walter Whorehound against her will. After an abortive attempt to elope with Touchwood Junior, Moll is guarded at home.


In its joyous celebration of man’s cheapsidd energies, A Chaste Maid is close in spirit to comedy’s origin in phallic song—a virtually prototypical comic drama in Susanne Langer’s definition of the form”erotic, risque, and sensuous if not sensual, impious, and even wicked.

Feigning a fatal illness, Moll “dies.

A Chaste Maid in Cheapside, by Thomas Middleton

During the christening, the various women remark how much the large child looks like its father, meaning Allwit. Middleton’s comedy may not be subtle, and his double dealers are great ones for the double entendre, but the writer knew the difference between satire and mere silliness. They all deny it and Sir Walter says that if anybody else does sleep with her, he will cbaste somebody else and leave them all chate money.

The servants tell Kix about the impending funeral for Moll and Touchwood Junior. London, for example, lost more than 30, people in the plague of —4; and man’s only effective weapon against death was procreation.

A Chaste Maid in Cheapside

Meanwhile, Touchwood Senior the elder brother of Moll’s true love prepares to depart from his wife; prodigiously fertile, he impregnates any woman he sleeps with. Sir Oliver gives Touchwood Senior one hundred pounds and then promises to give him another hundred when his wife gets pregnant, a third hundred when she is bedridden and a fourth hundred when she actually has the child.

However, Cheapsde arrives in time to stop the two lovers’ first attempt at cheapaide. He tells Yellowhammer that Sir Walter is an adulterer and Yellowhammer tells Allwit that he will not have Sir Walter marry his daughter.

In fact, Middleton’s works did not earn a substantial amount of critical attention until this century, and even then his image suffered from the fact that he often collaborated with others. The Welsh Gentlewoman is married to Tim at the same time as the supposed funeral of Moll Chastee. In any case, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside uses similar conventions as other Elizabethan dramas, and so is often included in this category.

Through his long relationship with Mrs. Their son, Tim, wants to be considered a learned gentleman.