Answer TWO of the following:
Q1: If we squint, we can almost see the outline of Romeo and Juliet in this play: parents trying to marry a daughter off to a suitor she doesn’t love, while she meets her real lover in secret (and tries to run away with him); the daughter is threatened by her own parents, the lover fights a duel, and a lot of bawdy humor is thrown about. Though the plots are superficially similar, how does Middleton make sure his plays feels and ‘plays’ differently? What keeps this play a comedy despite events and circumstances which easily could—and maybe should—be tragic?
Q2: When we were reading The Revenger’s Tragedy, I asked about the play’s morality, and I want to ask them same question of this play: what seems to be acceptable ethical behavior in this play/society? How can people act and what can they get away with that the audience is supposed to take offense at? How does Middleton make sure we understand when he disagrees with the morality of his characters? How do we know to laugh (or sneer) at them?
Q3: When Maudline Yellowhammer’s son, Tim, arrives back at home from
, he insists his name is “Timothius,” and he tries
to speak Latin as often as possible. Though Middleton (as a playwright/poet) is
not against learning or Latin, how does he satirize Tim’s character? What might
he represent about the Yellowhammers in general? You might also think about
modern parallels to his character in TV/film. Cambridge
Q4: One of the more humorous scenes in the play is also one of the least important to the plot: Act Three, Scene 2, when all the Gossips and Puritans converge on Mistress Allwit and her newborn child. What is the significance of this scene, and why might this have been written specifically to delight his audience? What might make them laugh or nod with recognition throughout the scene?