‘[M]istris Drewry,/ You do not well’: The Gossip as an Ill-Doer in A Warning for Fair Women (1599)


  • Iman Sheeha Brunel University London




This article compares the depiction of the gossip, the female companion, in A Warning for Fair Women (1599) with the source pamphlet and examines popular representations of gossips. I argue that the play engages with contemporary anxiety about the threat gossips were thought to pose to the patriarchal household and orderly domesticity. In A Warning, the gossip’s influence is destructive to the patriarchal household, to the community at large, and even to the natural order. The play raises the gossip’s threat, I contend, only to assuage and contain it by ensuring not only the gossip’s punishment, but also her co-operation in the restoration of the order she has disrupted.

Author Biography

Iman Sheeha, Brunel University London

Iman Sheeha (Iman.sheeha@brunel.ac.uk) is a lecturer in English (Shakespeare and early modern literature) in the department of arts and humanities at Brunel University London. She is writing a book on household servants in early modern domestic tragedy (forthcoming from Routledge in 2019). She is also co-editing a volume on domestic drama and early modern political culture (forthcoming from MUP) and a special issue of Early Modern Literary Studies on liminal domestic spaces in early modern English culture (2019). Her articles have appeared in EMLS, American Notes and Queries and The Apollonian.