The beautiful Beatrice-Joanna loves Alsemero, but she’s betrothed to another. So her fiancé must die – not by her hand, of course, but by that of the repulsive servant De Flores. Unfortunately it’s not money De Flores claims as his reward, but sex – and with the sweet virgin Beatrice-Joanna herself.
Charged with Middleton’s ferocious dramatic irony, and leavened by Rowley’s wild comic sub-plot, nothing in English drama comes near to this tale of a liaison based on repulsion and fascination. In fact, with its ghosts, dumb shows, scenes of Bedlam, and atmosphere of depraved violence, The Changeling runs the gamut of the Jacobean stage.
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“The feverish pace this often far-fetched plot needs to carry it can evaporate on occasion. ”