Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1882
Mr. Allwit knowingly lets his wife have an affair with Sir Walter Whorehound and in return, Sir Walter covers all of the Allwits' living expenses. Allwit is an example of a willing cuckold known as a wittol. For Allwit and for his wife, their marriage is more like a business arrangement than a traditional, romantic marriage. Allwit allows Sir Walter to be his wife's lover to the point where Allwit has lost the privilege of sleeping with his wife at all, as a scene with the jealous Sir Walter indicates. Allwit is also suspicious of Sir Walter, cautious that his benefactor may someday try to marry and no longer need Allwit's wife. When Allwit realizes that Sir Walter has come to town to marry Moll Yellow-hammer, he tries to stop it by telling Mr. Yellow-hammer that Sir Walter has had mistresses. Despite their strange arrangement, Allwit does genuinely enjoy his children—all of whom are bastards fathered by Sir Walter. When Sir Walter seeks redemption at the end of the play, thinking he is mortally wounded, Allwit tries to comfort him by bringing in two of these bastard children—Wat and Nick. However, when Sir Walter says that he will leave Allwit and his wife only curses in his will and when Allwit hears Sir Walter has killed a man and is a wanted fugitive, Allwit suddenly changes his tune and no longer wants anything to do with Sir Walter. He refuses Sir Walter sanctuary, and Allwit and his wife decide to use the possessions bought for them by Sir Walter to outfit a house in the Strand—the fashionable part of London.
With her husband's knowledge, Mrs. Allwit has an affair with Sir Walter Whorehound. In return, Sir Walter covers all of the Allwits' living expenses. Mrs. Allwit's marriage to her husband is more like a business arrangement than a romantic marriage. When the play begins, Mrs. Allwit is about to give birth to her latest child by Sir Walter. This fact and the event of the new baby's christening, give the play some of the most humorously ironic scenes—a fact noted by many critics. When Sir Walter seeks redemption at the end of the play, thinking he is mortally wounded, Allwit tries to comfort him by bringing in some of the bastard children that Mrs. Allwit has had by Sir Walter. This only makes Sir Walter more distressed, and he accuses Mrs. Allwit of helping to damn his soul by being his mistress. When Allwit tries to throw Sir Walter out after it is revealed that Sir Walter is a fugitive, Mrs. Allwit tries to intervene on Sir Walter's behalf at first. Ultimately, Mrs. Allwit sides with her husband. After they kick out Sir Walter, it is Mrs. Allwit who suggests they use their extra possessions to secure a house in the Strand.
Davy Dahanna is Sir Walter Whorehound's poor relative and personal servant. Throughout the play, Dahanna makes many humorous asides to the audience at the expense of Sir Walter and others. Dahanna is the one who notifies Mr. Allwit of Sir Walter's impending marriage. Dahanna is hoping that if Allwit can stop the marriage and Sir Walter dies childless, Dahanna may gain the inheritance from his distant relation, Sir Kix.
Mrs. Kix, wife of Sir Kix, is distraught that they cannot conceive a child so she gets pregnant by Touchwood Senior. The Kixes are related to Sir Walter in an unspecified way, but the play does indicate that if the Kixes do not bear an heir, they will lose their fortune to Sir Walter. For this reason, the Kixes' childless state becomes a source of strife between them, and Mrs. Kix blames her husband, saying that she never had fertility problems before. After Mrs. Kix and her husband learn of the special fertility drink that Touchwood Senior can sell them, Mrs. Kix encourages her husband to buy it. While her husband drinks the elixir and is sent off on a long...
(The entire section contains 1882 words.)
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