The Changeling Questions and Answers
by Thomas Middleton, William Rowley

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In The Changeling, what are the ways in which madness is trivialised?

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The main scene of Thomas Middleton’s The Changeling in which madness is trivialized is the subplot set in the lunatic asylum that occurs in Act III. In this, one man, Franciscus, conterfeits insanity to gain access to Isabella, and Antonio claims to be a fool. Their feigned madness is framed in comic dialogue. Perhaps the most strike trivialization of madness in the play is the commission to have madmen and fools dance as a form of entertainment for guests at the celebration following the planned marriage of Beatrice and Alonzo. The dance is meant to be a comic spectacle, with the guests finding the insane funny.

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