"By My Troth, She's a Whore" : Sexually Available Women in the City Comedies of Thomas Middleton



Year of publication 2015
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Thomas Middleton (1580-1627) was an English Jacobean playwright. In his city comedies, Middleton describes the life of Jacobean London and its inhabitants. A significant role in these comedies is given to sexually available women. Be it courtesans, prostitutes, adulterous wives, kept women, or simply girls who fall prey to false promises, their fate is very much the same. They use their wit and manage to get married to some fool. Making use of the examples of A Chaste Maid in Cheapside (1613), A Mad World, My Masters (1605), Michaelmas Term (1604), A Trick to Catch the Old One (1605), and Your Five Gallants (1607), this paper introduces the sexually available female characters of Middleton's city comedies, looks into the ways Middleton treats such characters, explores the typical framework of these characters in plots, and tries to answer the question if Middleton's view on Jacobean women is too harsh, pragmatic, or even sympathetic.
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