Commentary on Women Beware Women

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Middleton’s Women Beware Women is a Jacobean tragedy, which has a complex plot and deals with corrupted characters. This tragedy is about corruption in the court and life in general, love by money and how women can lead other women to destruction. As Tricomi states about the characters, they ‘are not wholly the product of their circumstances, but their circumstances condition their choices and propel them toward their destiny’.[1] Middleton, as other Jacobean playwrights before him, has managed to point out that ‘aristocratic life is brutal and corrupt’.[2] The focus of this commentary will be concentrated on marriage and to what can lead one to fall apart.

The first scene (Act I), deals with the characters of the play’s main plot: Leantio, Bianca and the Mother. In this scene, the readers come across with the insulting behaviour towards Bianca, where she is treated as an object. Leantio speaks of his wife with words of business, to him she is “the most unvalued’st purchase” (I.ii). He describes her as if she was a dangerous object that must stay hidden and safe, away from the sight of men. When he talks about her, it is obvious that Bianca is for him a treasure and he is the thief that now has to hide his “best piece of theft” (I.ii) in a safe place so no one will steal it from him. Such words describing a human being are rather cruel, especially when Leantio is talking about a person for whom he is supposed to have true and pure feelings of love.

Leantio is aware that Bianca’s family is rich, but he also knows that by marrying Bianca in secrecy and taking her away from them, Bianca will lose all of the property and money that belongs to her. He has also written over to her his house and put his mother in jeopardy. Although his act seems a romantic one and, even though he speaks of that relationship and feelings as being pure, his love is not mature; rather, it is one filled with jealousy.

In the beginning of the play Bianca could be...
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