Amy Reads Books

Women Beware Women (Drama Classics)

Women Beware Women - Thomas Middleton, Colin Counsell 'Women Beware Women' is a really intriguing Jacobean tragedy. Set in Florence, it follows the stories of Bianca and Leonato (I think), who elope from Venice and when they arrive in Florence, Leonato becomes paranoid that someone will see Bianca and want to steal her so insists that she stay indoors, or wear a mask if she leaves the house. However, Bianca appears on the balcony of their house and The Duke spots her, and instantly falls in love.Elsewhere, Hippolyto realises that he is in love with his niece, Isabella, but knows that he cannot act on his desires, as that would mean going against nature.However, both the Duke and Hippolyto have links to the widow Livia, who agrees to 'help' both men. She distracts Bianca's mother-in-law with a chess game, which mirrors the seduction of a frustrated & trapped Bianca by the Duke-and Bianca becomes his mistress. She also informs Isabella that Hippolyto is not really related to her; meaning that Isabella accepts his advances. Of course, as is typical of Jacobean tragedies, there is a masque where everyone meets quite brutal ends.Middleton crafts a very twisted world, and Livia struck me as an almost female Iago; controlling the other characters around her. I really enjoyed reading this.