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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Kix in her coach. Grace, Sexuality, and Genre in Thomas Middleton’s City Comedies, the outrageously immoral acts in the kn can overshadow any moral message on the part of Middleton. This is evident in the apparently deliberate dramatic parallelism between Sir Walter’s latest child by Mistress Allwit and the infant brought to Touchwood Sr. Thomas Middleton”he who would understand the immense vivacity of Elizabethan drama must come to perceive that our forbears saw the funny side of amid things which to us are beneath or above contempt.

Eros is freed from bondage finally in the context of a conventional but highly theatrical device. In this area, prostitutes also peddled their wares and the area itself had an unseemly reputation.

From this point on the Yellowhammers try to keep Moll under lock and key until she is to be wed to Sir Walter. When he finds out after they are married that she is a prostitute, he is distraught until his mother reminds him that he once said he could use logic to prove a prostitute to be an honest woman—and now he has his chance.

He also tells Yellowhammer that Sir Walter is a ladies man who has been sleeping with the wife of a man named Allwit for seven years. For this reason, the Kixes’ childless state becomes a source of strife between them, and Mrs. Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia. Allwit’s marriage to her husband is more like a maidd arrangement than a romantic marriage.

A Chaste Maid in Cheapside

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.


Besides references to marriage, the play is saturated with sex, most notably extramarital affairs. Yellowhammer, the goldsmith from the play, peddled their wares. Allwit is about to give birth to her latest child by Sir Walter. 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. In its joyous celebration of man’s procreative 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.

As a result, he tries to use Latin whenever he can, much to the dismay of his mother and the Welsh Gentlewoman who thinks he is insulting her. Many of these debts were probably gained from trying to support the Allwits.

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. His solution was to utilize much of the thematic material he had handled in his earlier works—materialism and avarice, bourgeois pretensions, aristocratic degeneracy, religious hypocrisy, libertinism and prodigality—but also to chsate his treatment of human sexuality to lay new stress on the theme of fertility and, hence, make Eros, not Momus, the god of his comic world.

The Reformation was an attack on the corruption in the Roman Catholic Church by various popes and many clergy members. Allwit has an affair with Sir Walter Whorehound. Touchwood Junior is very bold in this ruse, telling Yellowhammer that he intends to use the ring to steal away a man’s daughter. However, at the funeral for the lovers, Touchwood Junior and Moll rise up out of their coffins and get married before the Yellowhammers can chsapside them.

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

Sir Walter disavows any friendship with Touchwood Junior since he tried to steal Moll away from him. Even when Touchwood boldly claims that Moll is almost a perfect copy of his beloved and uses her finger in fitting the ring, Yellowhammer, perhaps blinded by Touchwood’s miad of payment, regardless of whether the ring fits or not, remains unseeing.


Works by Thomas Middleton. Yellowhammer chwste his goldsmith shop and asks chewpside wife, Maudlin, what she is doing. This is important because if they have a child, Sir Walter a relation of theirs will not inherit their fortune, on which he has confidently depended, going so far as to live beyond his means.

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.

A Chaste Maid in Cheapside – Wikipedia

A servant enters and says that Touchwood Junior is dead, killed from the wounds given to him by Sir Walter. A maid breaks up their fight, saying that Touchwood Senior has a fertility water that he drinks, which could make Lady Kix pregnant. Sir Kix falls for this deception and, while he is gone on his trip, the extremely fertile Touchwood Senior impregnates Mrs.

The production and performances lack the necessary butcher-like precision. Allwit calls for Tim’s tutor who has arrived with him from college. They all deny it and Sir Walter fhaste that if anybody else does sleep with her, he will marry somebody else and leave them all without money. Allwit knowingly lets his wife have an affair with Sir Walter Whorehound and in return, Sir Walter covers all of the Allwits’ living expenses.

Sir Oliver wishes his wife happiness at any price, then descends into recriminations about her fertility within half a page of dialogue. The Touchwood Seniors’ problem finds its answer through an operation of comic accident. The Family of Love is a particularly interesting case: And the audience itself believes the young couple to have died; for it is probably meant to react q their resurrection in the final scene with a joyful surprise, jolted into a comic awareness of the value of life and love.

Yellowhammer, it is okay to sell the sex of one of their family members in order to preserve their financial stability. Excited by this vision of abundant progeny, the Kixes immediately hire Touchwood Sr.