Places Discussed

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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

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

*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.


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Adams, J. Q. “Eastward Hoe and Its Satire Against the Scots.” Studies in Philology 28 (1931): 157-169. Treats an isolated, but interesting, facet of the play, helping to fit it into the larger political and legal circumstances of the period.

Brettle, R. E. “Eastward Ho, 1605, by Chapman, Jonson and Marston: Bibliography and Circumstances of Production.” The Library 4th series, no. 9 (1928-1929): 287-302. A close examination of the origins and initial presentation of the drama. More for the advanced than the general student.

Petter, C. G. Introduction to Eastward Ho! London: Ernest Benn, 1973. A brief but highly informative survey of the drama that provides a wealth of information for the serious student and the casual reader. Additional material offers background on contemporary social issues, as well as Jonson’s and Chapman’s imprisonment for their supposed slur on the Scots.

Spivack, Charlotte. George Chapman. New York: Twayne, 1967. A general overview of Chapman’s life and career, including his role as a collaborator on Eastward Ho! Does an excellent job in placing Chapman’s dramatic work within the context of his life.

Van Fossen, R. W. Introduction to Eastward Ho! Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 1979. Examines various aspects of the play, including authorship, contents, stage history, staging, and other issues. Includes background material on the plot and a selection of letters by Chapman and Jonson relating to the drama.

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Critical Essays