Honest Whore

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Thomas Middleton (1580—1627) playwright

Philip Henslowe (c. 1555—1616) theatre financier

Conyers Middleton (1683—1750) Church of England clergyman and author


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A play by Dekker in two parts, of which the first was printed 1604, the second 1630. It appears from Henslowe's diary that Middleton collaborated in writing the first part.

In Pt I Count Hippolito, making the acquaintance of Bellafront, a harlot, upbraids her bitterly and converts her to honesty. She falls in love with Hippolito, who repels her and marries Infelice, daughter of the duke of Milan. Bellafront is married to Matheo, who had caused her downfall.

In Pt II we find the converted Bellafront as the devoted wife of the worthless Matheo, who, to get money for his vices, is prepared to see her return to her old way of life. Hippolito, now falling in love with her, tries to seduce her. She stoutly resists temptation and is finally rescued from misery by her father, Orlando Friscobaldo. The painful character of the play, one of the great dramas of the age, heightened by Dekker's powerful treatment and by scenes in Bedlam and Bridewell, is somewhat alleviated by the admirable character Orlando Friscobaldo, and by the comic underplot, dealing with the eccentricities of the patient husband Candido, the linen draper.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Thomas Dekker (c. 1572—1632) playwright and pamphleteer