Every Man in His Humour


Ben Jonson

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Cuckold Term Analysis

If a man is cuckolded, it means that his wife has had an illicit affair. The term originally alluded to the cuckoo bird, which had a habit of laying its eggs in other birds’ nests.

Cuckold Quotes in Every Man in His Humour

The Every Man in His Humour quotes below are all either spoken by Cuckold or refer to Cuckold. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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 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 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:
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Cuckold Term Timeline in Every Man in His Humour

The timeline below shows where the term Cuckold appears in Every Man in His Humour. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 2, Scene 1
Human Folly Theme Icon
...also upset about the way Wellbred’s associates mock him and his appearance, and fears being cuckolded; he asks Downright to speak with his half-brother. (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Human Folly Theme Icon
...Wellbred into his house, doubling down on his worry that he is likely to be cuckolded: “Beware, / When mutual appetite doth meet to treat […] It is no slow conspiracy... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 6
Human Folly Theme Icon
...an aside, Kitely shows how gripped he is by the thought that he has been cuckolded. He tries to tell himself to “be of good cheer” as “’tis done.” (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
Human Folly Theme Icon
Now at Cob’s house, Cob confronts his wife, Tib, thinking she has cuckolded him. Cob confusedly accuses Tib of sleeping with Bobadil. He orders her to go inside,... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 10
Human Folly Theme Icon
Authenticity Theme Icon
Cob enters, shocked to hear Kitely’s claims that Old Knowell has cuckolded him (Kitely) within Cob’s house. He beats Tib for being a “bawd.” Old Knowell tries... (full context)