'Take Heed There's Giants Keep Em': "The Changeling" III.iii.178 and its Context
Telford Moore, Antony
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In Act III, scene iii of Middleton and Rowley's "The Changeling", Isabella, locked up in the asylum of her jealous husband, Alibius, and guarded by his 'man' Lollio, receives sexual attention first from Lollio, then Franciscus (disguised as a madman), and then Antonio (disguised as a fool). She rejects the advances of the first two would-be lovers, but in a minor way succumbs to Antonio's charms. It seems likely that one reason why she does find Antonio attractive is that she realizes that he is acting a part. In other words, given time and practice, Antonio may come to look like a fool, but at present his play-acting is not yet successful enough to take in those he is trying to deceive, including, it seems, the main target of his device, Isabella.