A Chaste Maid in Cheapside
Thomas Middleton wrote A Chaste Maid in Cheapside in 1610, which unlike his other plays it was performed in front of a large popular audience. Middleton’s play was considered to be a daring play because of it strongly satirized religion hypocrisy. Middleton takes the sanctity of marriage and creates four comical marriage plots that revolve around one character. The common theme of lying and deceitfulness in the play seems to revolve around the character Sir Walter Whorehound who is a Knight. He is the common factor that is brought up in all three marriages in the play.
The marriage between Sir Walter and Moll is the first marriage that is presented where Sir Walter is a deceiving character. In the opening act there is a conversation between Moll and her mother discussing how she is fortunate to be betrothed to Sir Walter, because she is not very feminine when really Sir Walter is only looking into marrying Moll because she is the daughter of a goldsmith and plans to inherit the estate. The conversation makes it seem as if Sir Walters actions are noble and kind for wanting to marrying Moll being so unfeminine, this demonstrates his first lie. He is only marrying Moll for money, but he can only marry Moll with the condition that he marries his landed niece” from Wales to the Yellowhammers son Tim. This ties him into the second marriage, the marriage between Tim and Sir Walter’s niece who is really his mistress. Before he arrives at Cheapside he specifically instructs her to lye about who she is and she must pass for a pure virgin (I. i, 86). His servant Davy makes a comical remark saying how is she going to pass for a virgin when she is clearly a prostitute. Sir Walter lies to the Yellowhammers and fools them into believing she is a Welsh gentlewoman. Even though the Yellowhammers do suspect she is a prostitute they don’t care because they want their son married.
The second marriage that brings up the second plot is the Alwitts....
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