Every Man in His Humour

by

Ben Jonson

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Kitely is a cloth merchant, married to Dame Kitely and brother of Mistress Bridget. He is also the unfortunate landlord of Wellbred, increasingly upset by the latter’s behavior and the company that he keeps. Over the course of the play, Kitely grows more and more paranoid that he is being “cuckolded”—that his wife is having an affair. This manifests in increasingly desperate behavior, as Kitely tries to guard his house using his assistant, Cash, and runs across town trying to catch his wife in the act. In keeping with Jonson’s aim to have each character dominated by one particular trait or characteristic, Kitely embodies jealousy at its worst. He is cured, a little unbelievably, by Justice Clement.

Kitely Quotes in Every Man in His Humour

The Every Man in His Humour quotes below are all either spoken by Kitely or refer to Kitely. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford University Press edition of Every Man in His Humour published in 2009.
Act 2, Scene 3 Quotes

A new disease? I know not, new, or old,
But it may well be called poor mortals' plague;
For, like a pestilence, it doth infect
The houses of the brain. First it begins
Solely to work upon the fantasy,
Filling her seat with such pestiferous air,
As soon corrupts the judgment; and from thence,
Sends like contagion to the memory:
Still each to other giving the infection.
Which, as a subtle vapour, spreads itself
Confusedly through every sensive part,
Till not a thought, or motion, in the mind,
Be free from the black poison of suspect.
Ah, but what misery is it, to know this?
Or, knowing it, to want the mind's erection
In such extremes? Well, I will once more strive,
(In spite of this black cloud) myself to be,
And shake the fever off, that thus shakes me.

Related Characters: Kitely (speaker), Dame Kitely
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3, Scene 6 Quotes

Bane to my fortunes! what meant I to marry?
I, that before was ranked in such content,
My mind at rest too, in so soft a peace,
Being free master of mine own free thoughts,
And now become a slave? What? never sigh;
Be of good cheer, man; for thou art a cuckold:
'Tis done, 'tis done! Nay, when such flowing-store,
Plenty itself, falls into my wife's lap,
The cornucopiae will be mine, I know. But, Cob,
What entertainment had they? I am sure
My sister and my wife would bid them welcome! Ha?

Related Characters: Kitely (speaker), Dame Kitely, Mistress Bridget, Cob
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 4, Scene 8 Quotes

No harm done, brother, I warrant you: since there is no harm done, Anger costs a man nothing: and a tall man is never his own man, till he be angry. To keep his valour in obscurity, is to keep himself, as it were, in a cloak bag. What's a musician, unless he play? What's a tall man, unless he fight? For, indeed, all this, my wise brother stands upon, absolutely: and that made me fall in with him so resolutely.

Related Characters: Wellbred (speaker), Downright, Kitely
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 5, Scene 1 Quotes

JUSTICE CLEMENT: I see, rank fruits of a jealous brain, mistress Kitely: but did you find your husband there, in that case, as you suspected?

KITELY: I found her there, sir.

JUSTICE CLEMENT: Did you, so? that alters the case. Who gave you knowledge of your wife's being there?

KITELY: Marry, that did my brother Wellbred.

JUSTICE CLEMENT: How? Wellbred first tell her? then tell you, after? Where is Wellbred?

KITELY: Gone with my sister, sir, I know not whither.

JUSTICE CLEMENT: Why, this is a mere trick, a device; you are gulled in this most grossly, all!

Related Characters: Kitely (speaker), Justice Clement (speaker), Wellbred, Dame Kitely
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 5, Scene 5 Quotes

JUSTICE CLEMENT: Good complement! It will be their bridal night too. They are married anew. Come, I conjure the rest, to put off all discontent. You, master Downright, your anger; you, master Knowell, your cares; Master Kitely and his wife, their jealousy.

[…]

'Tis well, 'tis well! This night we'll dedicate to friendship, love, and laughter. Master bridegroom, take your bride and lead; everyone, a fellow. Here is my mistress, Brainworm! To whom all my addresses of courtship shall have their reference. Whose adventures, this day, when our grandchildren shall hear to be made a fable, I doubt not, but it shall find both spectators, and applause.

Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:
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Kitely Character Timeline in Every Man in His Humour

The timeline below shows where the character Kitely appears in Every Man in His Humour. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 4
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...himself about Matthew. Apparently, Matthew has been frequenting one of the houses where Cob delivers water—Kitely’s—and is in love with Bridget Kitely. Cob is appalled by Matthew’s habit of reading “rascally... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
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Kitely, a cloth merchant, stands in front of his house with his assistant, Thomas Cash, and... (full context)
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Kitely has a thorny issue to bring up with Downright—Wellbred. The latter man, who lodges with... (full context)
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...behavior, and predicts he’ll end up in one of the city prisons. Downright wonders why Kitely doesn’t confront Wellbred about his actions. Kitely worries that Wellbred would “be ready from this... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
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Matthew and Bobadil enter, looking for Wellbred. They leave when Kitely explains that he did not return to his lodging last night, but not before Bobadil... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
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Cob comes by, delivering water. Kitely laments the fact that he ever let Wellbred into his house, doubling down on his... (full context)
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Dame Kitely and Mistress Bridget Kitely (Kitely’s sister) arrive. Dame Kitely sees that Kitely looks agitated and... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
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At his warehouse, Kitely frets over an impending business transaction that seems less than above board. His suspicion of... (full context)
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Kitely is of two minds about whether to leave or stay, comparing his brain to an... (full context)
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Kitely asks Cash to promise to keep a secret, though wonders paranoidly if Cash is deliberately... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
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As Kitely departs, Cob comes by. He is ranting to himself about “fasting days.” Cash asks him... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 5
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...and Wellbred are praising Brainworm for his skill as an “artificer.” They ask Cash for Kitely’s whereabouts; Cash, starting to panic at the men’s arrival, informs them that Kitely has gone... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 6
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...arrives at Justice Clement’s house and tells him of Wellbred’s arrival there with his entourage. Kitely panics about the “swarm” stinging his “head / With forked stings.” In an aside, Kitely... (full context)
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Kitely frantically asks Cob which of the gang kissed his wife first. Cob insists that he... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 7
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Justice Clement asks his assistant, Roger Formal, whether Kitely has gone. He wonders what made him leave so abruptly. Cob approaches Justice Clement to... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
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Back at Kitely’s, Downright chastises Dame Kitely for allowing Wellbred and his entourage into the house. He blames... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
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Bridget, Matthew, Bobadil, Wellbred, Stephen, Edward, and Brainworm all enter at Kitely’s house. Matthew intends to read some poetry to Bridget, causing Downright to leave; he’d rather... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
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Kitely comes in, wondering about the cause of the commotion. Wellbred blames it on “one of... (full context)
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Bridget and Dame Kitely praise Edward, with Bridget suggesting she has affections for him. Dame Kitely says he is... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 8
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Back at Kitely’s house, Wellbred explains to Kitely and Dame Kitely that anger is in Downright’s nature—and that... (full context)
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Kitely, in a fit of paranoia, takes Wellbred’s suggestion to heart and says he feels “ill.”... (full context)
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Brainworm comes in, now dressed as Roger Formal. He tells Kitely that his master, Justice Clement, desires to speak with him as soon as possible. Kitely... (full context)
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...to meet him at “the Tower,” where Wellbred has arranged for him to marry Bridget Kitely. Brainworm leaves. (full context)
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Kitely comes in with Cash, instructing him to stay at the house, keep note of any... (full context)
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Dame Kitely wonders why Kitely is looking for Cob so eagerly. Wellbred mischievously implies that Kitely is... (full context)
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...but feels that Wellbred is acting too much like “an old knight-adventurer’s servant.” Just then, Kitely returns, having realized that Justice Clement had not called for him as Brainworm said. Bridget... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 10
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Dame Kitely and Cash arrive. Dame Kitely demands to know where Kitely is, but Tib tells her... (full context)
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Kitely, caught up in his own suspicions, thinks Dame Kitely’s secret lover is Old Knowell, “this... (full context)
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Cob enters, shocked to hear Kitely’s claims that Old Knowell has cuckolded him (Kitely) within Cob’s house. He beats Tib for... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
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Justice Clement, Knowell, Kitely, Dame Kitely, Cash, Tib, and Cob assemble at Justice Clement’s house. Clement is trying to... (full context)
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Clement questions Dame Kitely and Kitely, getting them both to realize that each of them was convinced to search... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 5
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...themselves of their “discontent. You, Master Downright, your anger; you, Master Knowell, your cares; Master Kitely, and his wife, their jealousy.” Clement adds that “this night” will be dedicated to “friendship,... (full context)