‘[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

Abstract

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.

Published
2019-12-28
Section
Articles