‘‘An old quarrel between us that will never be at an end": Middleton’s Women Beware Women and Late Jacobean Religious Politics

Adrian Streete

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this article, I examine Thomas Middleton's Women Beware Women as a response to the particular religio-political context in the years surrounding 1621. The onset of the Thirty Years War in 1618 and the subsequent humiliation of James' son-in-law Frederick, Elector of Palatine, the vexed question of a possible Catholic marriage for Charles, Prince of Wales, the ever present difficulty of Anglo-Catholic relations, particularly with Spain, as well as growing religious factionalism within the Church of England between Calvinists and Arminians: all contributed towards a culturally febrile atmosphere, one to which, as I will argue, Middleton was well placed to respond. Given Middleton's Calvinistic beliefs, I suggest that Women Beware Women offers an acerbic examination of contemporary debates concerning human will, especially women's will, as well as promoting a sceptically apocalyptic anti-Catholic agenda throughout. I also examine the religious language and imagery used to construct Bianca as the whore of Babylon, and argue that her emergence and fall offer a political commentary on the precarious position of the English Church around 1621.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-254
Number of pages25
JournalThe Review of English Studies
Volume60
Issue number244
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009

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