A Chaste Maid in Cheapside Historical Context

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Cheapside in the Early Seventeenth Century

Contemporary audiences would have recognized the joke in the play's title. In the early seventeenth century, the chances of finding a chaste maid in Cheapside were slim. Technically, Cheapside—which was also known at various points as West Cheap or simply, Cheap—was the long, wide street that ran through one of the central sections of London. It served as one of London's marketplaces where merchants like Mr. Yellowhammer, the goldsmith from the play, peddled their wares. In this area, prostitutes also peddled their wares and the area itself had an unseemly reputation.

Law Enforcement and Prisons

Amidst all of this religious strife, London had many legal systems in place that dealt with both religious and civil issues. The play features two examples of the legal system in London at this time. The promoters, hired spies who confiscated meat that...

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This section contains 277 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Chaste Maid in Cheapside Study Guide
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A Chaste Maid in Cheapside from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.