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