Touchstone’s goldsmith shop
Touchstone’s goldsmith shop. London shop that establishes the industrious middle-class nature of the goldsmith Touchstone. The shop helps to define the shrewd common sense that underlies Touchstone’s skepticism about the foolish dreams of his daughter Gertrude, who hopes to become a lady by marrying the improvident Sir Petronel, and the pretensions of Quicksilver, his apprentice, who imagines that he can become a gentleman of leisure by following untrustworthy friends and romantic illusions fostered by unrealistic plays.
Sir Petronel Flash’s castle
Sir Petronel Flash’s castle. Nonexistent “castle in the air” in Essex that is the major reason for Gertrude’s marriage to Sir Petronel. It is also the source of Gertrude’s disillusionment when she makes a journey by coach into Essex only to find that the castle does not exist.
*Virginia. Proposed North American site of an English colony, which is advertised as the source of great wealth, an illusory fantasy for Sir Petronel and his fellow adventurers, Scapethrift and Spendall. Since Virginia had not been settled at the time of the play’s first performance, the truth about its actual hardships was not known.
Cuckholds’ Haven. Landing on the Isle of Dogs in the Thames where the adventurers are shipwrecked by a sudden squall as they are setting out to go “Eastward Ho” down the river to begin their voyage to Virginia. Their belief that they have found refuge on the coast of France provides one of the play’s funniest moments, as Sir Petronel tries to communicate in French to the first gentleman they encounter, only to exasperate him when he learns they are actually English.
*The Counter. Debtors’ prison in which Quicksilver, Sir Petronel, and their cronies are incarcerated, and where they all conveniently undergo religious “conversions.” Although Touchstone initially is adamant in his refusal to pay their debts and secure their release, his compassion toward them is aroused when his virtuous former apprentice and current son-in-law Golding, who is sympathetic toward Quicksilver, has himself jailed there on a technicality. Forced to visit the prison, Touchstone relents, and in a Dickensian ending forgives his erring former apprentice, and his son-in-law, Sir Petronel, and pays their debts, thereby gaining their release.