Every Man in His Humour

by

Ben Jonson

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Every Man in His Humour can help.

Master Matthew Character Analysis

Matthew is described as a “town gull”—that is, he is a foolish young urbanite. He is a poetaster—someone who writes inferior poetry—and is particularly given to passing off other people’s verse as his own. He admires the (false) bravado of Captain Bobadil and follows him around. Bobadil shows him how to swordfight, but, when confronted by Downright, Matthew’s first reaction is to run away. In the play’s closing scenes, Justice Clement is deeply unimpressed with Matthew’s plagiarism and refuses him an invite to the celebratory wedding feast that evening.

Master Matthew Quotes in Every Man in His Humour

The Every Man in His Humour quotes below are all either spoken by Master Matthew or refer to Master Matthew. 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:
Language Theme Icon
). 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 1, Scene 4 Quotes

He useth every day to a merchant's house (where I serve water), one master Kitely's, i’ the Old Jewry; and here's the jest, he is in love with my master's sister, Mrs. Bridget, and calls her mistress; and there he will sit you a whole afternoon sometimes, reading o’ these same abominable, vile (a pox on 'em, I cannot abide them), rascally verses, poyetry, poyetry, and speaking of interludes; 'twill make a man burst to hear him. And the wenches, they do so jeer, and tee-hee at him.

Related Characters: Cob (speaker), Master Matthew, Mistress Bridget, Tib
Related Symbols: Poetry
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

STEPHEN: Ay, truly, sir, I am mightily given to melancholy.

MATTHEW: Oh, it's your only fine humour, sir: your true melancholy breeds your perfect fine wit, sir. I am melancholy myself, divers times, sir, and then do I no more but take pen and paper presently, and overflow you half a score, or a dozen of sonnets at a sitting.

Related Characters: Master Stephen (speaker), Master Matthew (speaker), Edward Knowell, Wellbred
Related Symbols: Poetry
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 5, Scene 5 Quotes

EDWARD: We are the more bound to your humanity, sir.

JUSTICE CLEMENT: Only these two have so little of man in ‘em, they are no part of my care.

Related Characters: Edward Knowell (speaker), Justice Clement (speaker), Master Matthew, Captain Bobadil
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:

They are not born every year, as an alderman. There goes more to the making of a good poet, than a sheriff.

Related Characters: Justice Clement (speaker), Master Matthew
Related Symbols: Poetry
Page Number: 96
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Every Man in His Humour LitChart as a printable PDF.
Every Man in His Humour PDF

Master Matthew Character Timeline in Every Man in His Humour

The timeline below shows where the character Master Matthew appears in Every Man in His Humour. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 4
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Matthew, the town “gull,” arrives at the house of Cob the water-bearer, wondering if the latter... (full context)
Language Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Cob explains that Bobadil is asleep on a bench inside his house; Matthew goes in to look for him. Cob talks to himself about Matthew. Apparently, Matthew has... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 5
Authenticity Theme Icon
Matthew finds Captain Bobadil, a braggart soldier, inside Cob’s house. They talk about the drunken night... (full context)
Language Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Bobadil notices that Matthew is carrying a copy of The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd. They both effusively praise... (full context)
Authenticity Theme Icon
Matthew complains to Bobadil about an argument he had with Downright, the no-nonsense half-brother of Wellbred,... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Human Folly Theme Icon
Matthew and Bobadil enter, looking for Wellbred. They leave when Kitely explains that he did not... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Authenticity Theme Icon
In a street near the Windmill tavern, Matthew and Bobadil tell Wellbred that they were looking for him earlier. Bobadil tries to complain... (full context)
Human Folly Theme Icon
...contrived to read Wellbred’s letter. Wellbred promises Edward that he will enjoy listening—and mocking—Bobadil and Matthew, whom he calls his two “wind-instruments.” Likewise, replies Edward, Stephen will bring amusement to Wellbred. (full context)
Language Theme Icon
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Stephen introduces himself to Wellbred, insisting that he is “mightily given to melancholy.” Matthew, not wanting to be left out, insists that he is melancholy too—and that this is... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 5
Human Folly Theme Icon
Parenthood Theme Icon
Wellbred, Edward, Brainworm, Bobadil, Matthew, and Stephen arrive. Edward and Wellbred are praising Brainworm for his skill as an “artificer.”... (full context)
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Bobadil and Matthew go inside, with the latter hoping to charm Mistress Bridget with his “verse.” Wellbred and... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Language Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Bridget, Matthew, Bobadil, Wellbred, Stephen, Edward, and Brainworm all enter at Kitely’s house. Matthew intends to read... (full context)
Language Theme Icon
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Edward and Wellbred listen amusedly as Matthew utters “stolen remnants” from Christopher Marlowe’s Hero and Leander, passing them off as his own:... (full context)
Language Theme Icon
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Wellbred asks Matthew “who made these verses.” Matthew claims to have written them, “extempore,” that very morning. Downright... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
...Wellbred blames it on “one of my brother’s ancient humours” and leaves, with Stephen, Bobadil, Matthew, Edward and Brainworm in tow. Downright rants about Wellbred, Bobadil, and Matthew. Bridget criticizes him... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 7
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Matthew, Edward, Bobadil, and Stephen speak disparagingly about Downright. Bobadil states that, with what he taught... (full context)
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
...sword. Bobadil tries to back out of the fight; Downright quickly and easily disarms him. Matthew, terrified, runs away. (full context)
Act 4, Scene 9
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Bobadil and Matthew meet in a city street. They worry about their reputations but make their excuses. When... (full context)
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Bobadil and Matthew give Brainworm jewelry and silk stockings in exchange for a warrant. Matthew describes Downright as... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 11
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Brainworm, now disguised as a constable, encounters Matthew and Bobadil on a street. He tells them that he is on his way to... (full context)
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
...then, Downright comes in. Brainworm in turn tries to serve him with the warrant on Matthew and Bobadil’s behalf; Downright agrees to go before Justice Clement. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
A servant announces Matthew and Bobadil’s arrival. Justice Clement briefly thinks that Bobadil, described merely as a “soldier” by... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 5
Language Theme Icon
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Parenthood Theme Icon
Edward thanks Justice Clement for his “humanity.” Clement says that only Bobadil and Matthew “have so little of man in ‘em” as to not be any “part” of his... (full context)
Language Theme Icon
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Wellbred insists that Matthew is more of a “pocket” poet than one who likes to “extempore.” Clement notices that... (full context)
Language Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
...and drink that evening to celebrate the marriage of Edward and Bridget—except for Bobadil and Matthew, who will have to “fast it out” for being “so false.” He tells Stephen to... (full context)