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Thomas Middleton (baptized in London, April 18, 1580 – Newington Butts, July 1627), English playwright of English Renaissance theater.
He was probably born in London. He was educated at Queen’s College, Oxford, where he studied law, and was admitted to Gray’s Inn in 1593. He published three volumes of verses in 1600; He began writing theater in 1602, according to Henslowe’s Diary: Blurt, Master Constable (1602) was printed. A prolific writer, he was on the staff of the Boys of St. Paul’s and the Admiral’s Men. Some works of that time (between 1602 and 1607) are A Mad World, My Masters (c.1605), A Trick to Catch the Old One (c.1605) and Michaelmas Term (c.1606). He collaborated with Thomas Dekker in the comedies of The Honest Whore [Part I] (1604), The Family of Love (1603-1607) and The Roaring Girl (1610). His masterpiece is A Chaste Maid in Cheapside (1611), which offers an extensive overview of a corrupt London in all its social strata; These comedies express the bourgeois vices of the London of his time in a satirical tone. From 1613 he served the Lord Mayor in London and was an official chronicler or city chronologer from 1620 until his death in 1627. He continued writing for the theater collaborating with William Rowley: A Fair Quarrel (pub 1617), The World Tossed at Tennis (pub. 1620) and his great tragicomedy The Changeling (1622). His patriotic drama A Game at Chess (1624) was an unprecedented success that was withdrawn by the protests of the Spanish ambassador because of its anti-Spanish content. One of his last pieces was Women Beware Women (c.1625). Some critics think he is the author of The Revenger’s Tragedy (1607). Middleton died of natural causes and was buried on July 4, 1627.
Middleton’s work is characterized by a profound cynicism about human nature and a great comic; true heroes are quite rare in their theater; most are selfish, self-paced and ambitious. He was a convinced Calvinist and this vision of the world is reflected in his work.
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