Real Regular People

Eliot claimed Middleton to be “merely a great recorder.” He was impressed by Middleton’s ability to accurately reproduce a human being in words. This is reflected in Women Beware Women. The characters have done very little up through act III besides dance and play some chess. Most of the interesting aspects of the play come from the characters words. Eliot pointed out a passage of dialogue where Bianca describes her displeasure with the house to Leantio’s mother. However instead of complaining directly Bianca uses innuendo, “Troth, you speak wondrous well for your old house here; / ‘Twill shortly fall down at your feet to thank you.” This aversion to any real direct action or conflict make Middleton’s characters feel like real, normal people. (If one thinks about it, real people rarely actually do things, in the dramatic sense.)

Eliot uses a similar method in part II. A Game of Chess with the two women in the pub. Nothing actually happens in that scene. However many things are suggested to have happened. “And if you don’t give it him, there’s others will ,I said.” (149) In fact the dialogue isn’t really even occurring in the present but is instead a retelling of a past conversation. This lack of action and focus on suggestion and double meaning make the women in the pub feel normal, real, maybe even bland. The conversation sure seems like something Eliot could have just overheard in a bar and this is due to the methods he borrowed from Middleton.


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