A Chaste Maid in Cheapside and The Changeling

13 down, 3 to go…! Well into the final last two weeks of term and time is flying by! These are the two latest plays that I have read on my course, one of them happens to be my coursework text as well!

A Chaste Maid in Cheapside

This is my coursework text so I’m not going to explore lots of my thoughts on this as I want to save them for now but I would like to look at a couple of things. This is a very interesting play with lots of interesting characters and events in the plot. Even if it does appear to be only a short play, there are so many characters yet they all manage to have an overarching impact on the plot. This play runs through several interesting themes from comedy, marriage and sex to the decayed nobility, morals and even good vs. bad. For me, there was one plot story that really stood out aside from the main plot and that was Sir Walter Whorehound’s relationship with the Kixes. Where Walter is rich in fertility and poor in wealth, the Kixes are the opposite and it is this scenario that I think manages to include basically every major theme of the play. If you are studying this play then it is very interesting to look at. Overall, this is a play that really stands out for me and gets a 7/10 because there is just so much going on and I like that in a play. I haven’t seen it performed but it is one of those plays where I can imagine that you find out more things each time you watch it, and I like that!

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The Changeling

This is another great play on this module and is one that I really enjoyed. I’m not going to discuss any key points or facts but merely just detail what happens because this is what is important in this play. The themes really come across through the constant action without having to be looked into too deeply. This play is a tragedy and focuses on Beatrice and who she will end up getting married to; also meaning in Renaissance Drama which man will get her as the pure and innocent virgin woman. There are three men that try to suit themselves to Beatrice and they are Alonzo, Alsemero and De Flores. Now, De Flores is a rather interesting character to look at in this text because of how he is treated by Beatrice. In one scene, she is absolutely disgusted by him and she simply cannot think of him however, in the very scene following she flirts with him and compliments him. Of course, De Flores is so blinded by love he will do anything for her and this is exactly what happens. Like most of the plays in this period, one thing leads to another and it all unravels in the closing scenes. In this play, it is no different. The closing scenes show how De Flores and Beatrice are locked together in a closet after they have been found out. De Flores has killed Alonzo because Beatrice asked him too and in return he assumed that Beatrice would have sex with him as a kind of payment. After at first being disgusted, Beatrice had given in and now they both find themselves troubled: Beatrice for not being the pure and innocent woman that Alsemero wants her to be and De Flores because of his fornication and the fact that he has murdered Alonzo. So,because De Flores knows he has sinned and that Beatrice does not love him for who he is he decides to stab Beatrice and then kill himself. Pretty typical of a tragedy really but this play feels a little different because the power of the play keeps changing and that is what keeps this play alive. It is all about revenge and as they say, revenge is sweet. It is for this reason that this play also gets a 7/10 and after I was a little disappointed with some of the plays on this module I can finally understand why I picked it again. Success!

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