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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Touchwood Junior is very bold in this ruse, telling Yellowhammer that he intends to use the ring to steal away a man’s daughter.

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

However, as a maid, Maudlin was “lightsome, and quick, two years before I was married. Sir Walter Whorehound wishes he possessed the wealth his title suggests he merits. Other more bold references include Touchwood Senior’s warning to Sir Kix at the end of the play.

Sir Kix falls for this deception and, while he is gone on his trip, the extremely fertile Touchwood Senior impregnates Mrs. Middle class parents try desperately to marry their children into an upper class that tries desperately to hide the impending doom of poverty.

Allwit know that her son Tim has arrived. Because of this masterful plotting and because the play was so audacious in its exploration of the depths cheapsire human depravity—which Middleton exploited for comic purposes—many critics consider the play to be one of his finest works.

Touchwood Senior, the older brother of Touchwood Junior, enters with his wife. 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.


He may be making a more complicated point: In addition to double entendres, which kaid spoken out loud in dialogue with another character, Middleton also makes use of asides—comments directed at the audience, which the other characters cannot hear.

When the promoters take the basket and the woman leaves, they realize that they have been had and that the woman has dumped her unwanted child on them.

A Chaste Maid in Cheapside, London | Stage | The Guardian

From this point on the Yellowhammers try to keep Moll under lock and key until she is to be wed to Sir Walter. Allwit and two servants if anybody else has slept with Mrs. Moral justification for the acts in the play was probably not an issue for many playgoers in Middleton’s time since Elizabethan audiences found humor in situations that many modern viewers do not.

As a result, he would have been thrown into one of the debtors’ prisons, the most famous of which was Newgate. But, in this play’s comic society, his fertility is initially a victim of economic “necessity”: 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.

It served as one of London’s marketplaces where merchants like Mr. Retrieved from ” https: The Welsh Gentlewoman is married to Tim at the same time as the supposed funeral of Moll Yellowhammer.

A Chaste Maid in Cheapside, by Thomas Middleton

Allwit has xhaste affair with Sir Walter Whorehound. At the same time, although her moodiness leads him to suspect she might love someone other than Sir Walter, Yellowhammer is absolutely unable to conceive of the possibility that she chastte muster enough spunk to deceive him and follow her heart.


In addition, the playgoers were expected to pick up on these clues. His salvation comes from the Kixes, an aging couple who have not been able to conceive.

chezpside 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. Besides references to marriage, the play is saturated with sex, most cheapsde extramarital affairs. Sir Kix, on the other hand, is unaware of his cuckolding although he unknowingly alludes to it at times. Here, more obviously than in A Fair Quarrel and More Dissemblerspregnancy—even a counterfeit one—is a symbol of the life-force within nature and the human instinct to live.

At the funeral, Moll and Touchwood Junior rise from their coffins and the mourning turns to celebration. A husband willingly allows his wife to have sex with another man in return for financial security; another unwittingly pays for the opportunity to be cuckolded; and, a bastard child is wittingly donated to royal spies by being disguised as a basket of meat.

A Chaste Maid in Cheapside

Although at first he is apprehensive about his intended union with the Welsh Gentlewoman, he grows to be very fond of her. Chexpside asks what has become of Sir Walter, Mr. Even the language Middleton chooses is rife with double meanings.

Sir Walter is also bringing his wealthy niece to wed their son, Tim.