Bartholomew Fair Questions and Answers
by Ben Jonson

Start Your Free Trial

In Ben Jonson's play Bartholomew Fair, who are all the Puritan characters, and why are they significant?

Expert Answers info

Robert C. Evans eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write2,994 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

The Puritan characters in Ben Jonson’s comedy Bartholomew Fair include the following:

  • Zeal-of-the-Lady Busy, a leader of other Puritans who thinks of himself as a kind of inspired prophet. His first name suggests his pride (a common trait of Jonson’s Puritans); his last name suggests that he is a kind of busy-body who meddles in matters he should properly ignore. Jonson uses Busy to mock what he considered the self-righteousness and hypocrisy of the Puritans of his day. Jonson also mocks Busy’s complicated theological hair-splitting – a kind of “reasoning” that usually permits him, in the end, to find divine sanction for anything he himself already personally approves.
  • Dame Purecraft, whose last name suggests her Puritan leanings and whose foolishness is (in Jonson’s eyes) typical of most Puritans. Her religious fanaticism is suggested, for instance, when she proclaims,

Now, the blaze of the beauteous Discipline, fright
away this evil from our House!

She is superstitious,...

(The entire section contains 498 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now




check Approved by eNotes Editorial