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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For Touchwood Junior, he fakes his by acting like he is mortally wounded in a duel with Sir Walter Whorehound.

Allwit and pay for all of the Allwits’ expenses. However, Yellowhammer does not suspect that he is that man and so criticizes any father who is so blind. Topics for Further Study. Clarendon Press, ; Vol.

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 cheapsidde.

A Chaste Maid in Cheapside – Wikipedia

She says that it is Touchwood’s bastard child and she threatens to announce this fact. Next, they try chastf run away together across the river, but Maudlin Yellowhammer jumps in the river, catches Moll and drags her out. The Maud Walter-Allwits’ plot, then, may raise some serious ethical questions; but, as is evident in mid christening party scene and the strong presence of the fertility theme much is made of Mistress Allwit’s pregnancy chastf the Allwit household has a total of seven childrenthere is something comically alive about it.

Her parents are so caught up with trying to marry Tim to the Msid gentlewoman that they do not attend the funeral where Moll and Touchwood Junior rise from their coffins and are happily married. 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 cheapsice play as a whole must move; for the drama’s hero and heroine, Touchwood Jr.

Although it appears that he has enough money, the audience finds out at the end that he has been having a hard time mair his bills. In the play, two men, Mr. Davy cheaside to the Allwits, telling them that he thinks that Sir Walter’s wounds from the fight may kill him.

Through all the complicated wordplay and the sometimes bewildering tangle of revelations and protestations, Middleton inexorably explores the difference between what truly is and what can be seen, and the human need for both truth and artifice.

Act 4, Scene 2. Touchwood Senior and his wife also worry about money, since his extreme fertility keeps creating children they cannot afford to raise. They talk about the fact that they must live separately because Touchwood Senior is so fertile that his wife keeps having babies which they cannot afford to raise. Because of his collaborations, some of Middleton’s plays have only been fully attributed to him since the s, when Middleton scholarship increased significantly.


When the “water” has worked its magic and Lady Kix’s pregnancy is 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.

Sir Walter is also bringing his wealthy niece to wed their son, Tim. Allwit a very generous gift which the various women remark on, saying it is too rich. This play, like many of Middleton’s other works, details several plots carried out by unscrupulous people in search of wealth, marriage, or sex—and sometimes all three. Writers like William Shakespearethe most famous Elizabethan dramatist, were very adept at inserting these double meanings into the play through dialogue.

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

Allwit is also suspicious of Sir Walter, cautious that his benefactor may someday chapside to marry and no longer need Allwit’s wife. While they can’t live up to them, the fact that they can still speak of better things provides the proof that mzid human flame is cbeapside flickering. This certainly helps to drain his funds. Touchwood Junior longs for the hand of Moll, which is forbidden to him, when the play opens, by the competing ambitions of her parents.

Money tyrannizes over love in the Yellowhammers’ insistence that their daughter marry the profligate, but titled, Sir Walter Whorehound against her will. Middleton’s plays often feature a cast of characters who try to connive or deceive each other, as they do in A Chaste Maid in Cheapsidewhich Middleton most likely wrote sometime between toand which was first published in Act 2, Scene 3.

Instead, Moll and Touchwood Junior scheme only to reveal the deeper truth of their love. Touchwood Junior is in love with Moll Yellowhammer, but her parents forbid her to marry him. However, at the funeral for the lovers, Touchwood Junior and Moll rise up out of their coffins and get married before the Yellowhammers can stop them.

The Kixes are related to Sir Walter in an unspecified way, but the play does indicate that if the Kixes do not bear an heir, they will lose their fortune to Sir Walter. Although Moll is one of the few chaste characters in the play, Maudlin treats Moll like she is worthless especially when Moll tries on two separate occasions to escape her marriage to Sir Walter.


The chaste maid of the title would have been a joke for Middleton’s audiences since Cheapside was infamous at the time for its prostitutes and other lascivious people, and a chaste maid would have been hard to find.

These writings detail each writer’s view of what life was like in England in this time period. Middleton was a Christian and has been labeled both a Calvinist and a Puritan by various critics. A Chaste Maid in Cheapside is a city comedy written c.

A Chaste Maid in Cheapside |

And this is precisely what happens in the episode in which the promoters, who confiscate meat only from those who have not bribed them, seize upon the girl’s basket, in which the infant is sleeping, but which they think contains only a piece of mutton they covet, and find themselves with a “piece of flesh” they had not expected to gather. In fact, the morality of the play—with its many tricks and deceptions—has elicited the most comment from critics. In such plays as Michaelmas TermA Mad World, My Masterand A Trick to Catch the Old One he had helped to perfect the form of city comedy that was so fashionable in early Jacobean London, reflecting, as it did, the intellectual sophistication, moral scepticism, and taste for irony of its educated audience.

Another man works for somebody who pays off the promoters so they let him go. When Maudlin speaks to her daughter Moll in the first exchange of dialogue, Maudlin criticizes Moll for not being more like Maudlin was as a maid.

Moll arrives with Touchwood Senior and the secret ceremony begins but is broken up by Yellowhammer and Sir Walter. Act 1, Scene 1. Act 4, Scene 1. Sir Kix, on the other hand, is unaware of his cuckolding although he unknowingly alludes to it at times.

As Yellowhammer notes, Sir Cheapsid “lies i’th’ knight’s ward now. Mistress Allwitt, who has borne him seven illegitimate children, wishes to appear a respectable matron. 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 Cheapslde Churches did. Within Middleton’s logic of remaining true to oneself, the Welsh gentlewoman is an interesting aberration. However, as a maid, Maudlin was “lightsome, and quick, two years before I was married.