A Trick to Catch the Old One

by Thomas Middleton

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 275

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Theodorus Witgood

Theodorus Witgood, a dissolute young spendthrift. He conspires with the courtesan, his former mistress, to deceive his avaricious old uncle and regain enough of his wasted and confiscated fortune to marry Joyce. Once successful, he swears that he will give up all the vices that have nearly ruined him.

Pecunious Lucre

Pecunious Lucre, his uncle, a greedy old man who leaps at the thought of adding to the family fortune by Witgood’s proposed marriage to a wealthy widow. He is not above a little flirtation with his nephew’s bride-to-be, but he expends most of his energy in his feud with his equally ill-tempered contemporary, Walkadine Hoard.

A courtesan

A courtesan, Witgood’s accomplice, a witty woman with a genius for taking advantage of situations that will result in her own advantage. She plays her part of wealthy widow so convincingly that she wins a proposal from old Hoard. When her profession is revealed, she pacifies her new husband with the somewhat specious assurance that, having sinned in her youth, she will be faithful in maturity.

Walkadine Hoard

Walkadine Hoard, her miserly suitor, who is attracted primarily to her four hundred pounds a year. He crows over his old enemy, Lucre, when he thinks he has successfully cheated his rival by carrying off Witgood’s rich widow. He realizes finally that he has been gulled and reluctantly admits that he must keep his bride to save his reputation.


Joyce, Hoard’s niece, Witgood’s pleasant, amenable sweetheart, who plays very little part in the schemes of the others.


Taverner, Witgood’s ready accomplice in fleecing the greedy Lucre.

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