Staging the Henrician Court : an interesting mixture of types?

This page last changed on Sep 24, 2009 by Greg Walker.

I wonder whether one of the interesting things about the Launder[ess] isn't that she combines traits of two apparently mutually contradictory stereotypes (she's a bit like Merry report in this respect): the shrewish, scolding older woman, and the morally upright spokeswoman for an honest life (and trade). She is the only character to stand her ground with MR, and come out, if not on top, at least with some honour intact in their flyting. Does that suggest Heywood was quite sympathetic? she gets some very good lines...

What does the fact that Heywood chose to make her shrewish yet  actually pretty impressive , morally speaking, suggest. That he could not conceive of an older woman - however virtuous he wanted her to be, without making her a type of the Elinour rummyng/wife of Bath scold? Or just that he had such a sure ear for comedy that he couldn't resist giving her the kinds of 'man-eater' lines that he knew would get a laugh, and put MR in his place - even if only briefly? 

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