Motif of Adultery in Elizabethan, Jacobean and Caroline Tragedy

Author: Born-Lechleitner, Ilse
This study is the most detailed examination of audience reaction to adultery depicted on the stage, up to the closing of the theatres in 1642 on the outbreak of the Civil War. All tragedies containing the adultery motif are examined, not only such spectacular manifestations as Thomas Middleton and William Rowley's The Changeling and John Webster's The White Devil. Though the Elizabethan and Jacobean plays have received much critical examination, this study also scrutinizes the lesser-known Caroline plays in detail. All the relevant literature has been assembled in an exhaustive bibliography on the theme and is fully utilized in the numerous footnotes.


“. . . offers a more successful historical reading of a play theme, drawing extensively on contemporary commentary to provide ‘legal background’ and ‘moral background’. . . . Her readings of domestic tragedy, and the plays of, among others, Heywood, Marston, Chapman and Webster give her book a wider chronological and dramatic basis. . .” – The Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory