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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Elizabeth toed the line during her long reign, not willing to endorse either side totally and the religious tension increased. This interest in the theme of fertility is a continuing one for Middleton, especially apparent in the unusual number of pregnancies and onstage infants in his later plays. For example, for both Allwit and Mr. Most scholars believe that Thomas Middleton ‘s A Chaste Maid in Cheapside was first performed sometime between andalthough it was not published untilwhen it was published in a quarto edition in England.

For example, in one passage Touchwood Senior, a very fertile man who plans on impregnating the barren Chatse Kix—and attributing her pregnancy to the fake fertility drink that he sells to her husband—asks Sir Oliver if he remembers their deal.

When the “water” has worked its magic and Lady Kix’s pregnancy x verified, Sir Oliver thinks that he has sired a child with the help of Touchwood Senior’s medical skills and is so rapturously happy that he proposes, with comic unconsciousness, that their two families live in a kind of symbiotic relationship.

They also note how gallant Sir Walter looks when compared to Mr.

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

Next, they try to run away together across the river, but Maudlin Yellowhammer jumps in the river, catches Moll, and drags her out. Middle class parents try desperately to marry their children into an upper class that tries desperately to hide the impending doom of poverty.

They also note that they have married their son Cheapsidf to the Welsh gentlewoman, who is a prostitute—a fact they learned too late.

He also says that he needs the ring quickly, as he is trying to steal his bride away from her father. Farr notes in her book Thomas Middleton and the Drama of X The ambiguous morality in Cheapside and of England overall may have been the consequence of an ambiguous and constantly changing religious system.


He and his wife must separate to avoid another pregnancy, which they cannot afford. Yellowhammer thinks nothing of marrying his daughter to Sir Walter even though she is not interested because in return, Tim Yellowhammer will marry the Welsh gentlewoman and inherit her fortune.

Middleton is also kind to Touchwood Senior, who, aware of his legendary fertility, uses his double-edged gift to bless Sir Oliver and Lady Kix with a child.

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

In other words, as long as Sir Walter does not have any sexually transmitted diseases, Yellowhammer will overlook the knight’s transgressions. What begins as a display of bourgeois pseudopoliteness becomes an image of comic animality.

When Maudlin speaks to her daughter Moll in the first exchange of dialogue, Maudlin criticizes Moll for cyeapside being more like Maudlin was as a maid.

Allwit and Sir Kix, are cuckolded. Sir Kix falls for this deception and, while chste is gone on his trip, the extremely fertile Touchwood Senior impregnates Mrs.

A Chaste Maid in Cheapside

When Moll fakes chasste death, her 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. It is no accident that the play’s loveless couples, the Purges and the Glisters, are childless, and the lecherous gallants, Lipsalve and Gudgeon, comically impotent in their sexual frustration.

The play takes place during Lent, a penitent time in some Christian denominations, but features several acts that are anything but holy. He is not willing to give up on them, either. Through all the complicated wordplay and the sometimes bewildering tangle of revelations cheapsdie protestations, Middleton inexorably explores the difference between what truly is and what can be seen, and the human need for both truth and artifice.

He instructs the servants to pay Touchwood Senior his next hundred pounds.

This is one of the more tame passages in the play. In the seventeenth century when a man slept with another man’s wife, he was said to have cuckolded the woman’s husband.

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Although most scholars list April 18 as his christening date, most are unable to confirm his actual birth date. Allwit of helping to damn his soul by being his mistress. And the audience itself believes the young couple to have died; for it is probably meant to react to their resurrection in the final scene with a joyful surprise, jolted into a comic awareness of the value of life and love.

Although Yellowhammer tells Allwit that he will not let Sir Walter marry his daughter, secretly, he says he will, since Yellowhammer himself has also kept mistresses. View the Lesson Plans. In terms of the drama’s festive conclusion, the child born to this anonymous girl is, as in The Family of Lovea sign of a languishing society’s capacity for regeneration.

At the funeral for the lovers, Moll and Touchwood Junior rise up out of their coffins and get married chate the Yellowhammers can stop them. Allwit’s new baby girl. Collected Works Oxford, cheapsire Yellowhammer tells Sir Walter that they should be married first thing in the morning to prevent her from escaping again.

As he explains to her in the very first scene in which they appear:. The plastic splash curtain is a clever touch; however, removing the play from its specific urban setting, in favour of some no man’s land of either geography or period, is not so smart. Why does Middleton give such seeming concern for truth to a character as corrupt as Allwittt?

Finally, the woman with the child from the previous scene walks by the promoters, blatantly carrying a basket of meat with the baby hidden underneath.

Cbaste Sir Kix hears about Touchwood Senior’s fertility drink, he buys a vial of the drink from the latter. Perhaps not surprisingly the cast frequently look as uncomfortable as a group of nuns at an orgy.