Thomas Middleton
and William Rowley
THE CHANGELING

licensed 7 May 1622

full synopsis available, click here

ALIBIUS

Alibius is the owner of a lunatic asylum. He allows paying visitors to see his "brainsick patients", but he is a jealous husband, and worries about the gallants who admire his young wife, Isabella. To this end he confines Isabella to the madhouse, ordering Lollio to guard her when he is away from home. The plan fails: two gallants disguise themselves as madmen in order to seduce Isabella. Alibius, remaining blissfully ignorant, is hired by Vermandero to present a "madmen's morris" at the wedding of Beatrice-Joanna. He oversees the rehearsal. Then, Isabella tells him about the counterfeit madmen (this event is not dramatized). Alibius and Isabella go to the castle, to inform Vermandero. In the conclusion, Alibius says he has learned his lesson, and will try to become a better husband.

ALONZO DE PIRACQUO

Alonzo de Piracquo, a nobleman, has arranged with Vermandero to marry his daughter, Beatrice-Joanna. Alonzo is a trusting innocent, and cannot accept his brother Tomazo's opinion that Beatrice shows "small welcome in her eye". Alonzo is murdered by DeFlores at Beatrice's request. DeFlores cuts off one his fingers. Later, Alonzo's ghost haunts DeFlores, showing his hand with the missing finger.

ALSEMERO

Alsemero is a Valencian soldier who falls in love with Beatrice-Joanna, daughter of Vermandero. Beatrice loves him in return, but her father has already matched her to Alonzo de Piracquo. Not realizing his feelings toward Beatrice, Vermandero invites Alsemero to stay in his castle. There, Alsemero meets with Beatrice in secret, and offers to duel with Alonzo. Beatrice, fearful of losing him, secretly hires DeFlores to murder Alonzo, but DeFlores forces her to sacrifice her virginity as payment. Thinking that Alonzo has run away, Vermandero chooses Alsemero as Beatrice's new fiancÚ, and they are married. After the wedding, Alsemero's friend Jasperino informs him that Beatrice may have had sex with DeFlores. Alsemero is incredulous, and uses a virginity test on Beatrice, but she outwits him, and convinces him of her innocence. She then tricks him into sleeping with Diaphanta, rather than herself, on the wedding night. But afterwards, Jasperino shows Alsemero ocular proof of Beatrice's adultery. He confronts her with the evidence, and she confesses, explaining that she did it all to marry him. Alsemero locks her in his closet, and, when DeFlores confesses his crimes, thrusts him in after. There, DeFlores stabs Beatrice and himself. Alsemero offers a moral commentary in the conclusion, and promises to act as a son to Vermandero. He also speaks the epilogue at the end.

ALSEMERO, JOHN DE

A "ghost character". The deceased father of Alsemero, a former acquaintance of Vermandero.

ANTONIO

Antonio is a gentleman of Vermandero's household. He enters Alibius's madhouse disguised as an innocent fool in order to seduce Isabella. When Lollio is distracted, Antonio reveals his true identity to Isabella, and tries to kiss her. But Isabella is unimpressed, and when Antonio tries again, Lollio sees him. Later, with the complicity of Lollio, Isabella disguises as a madwoman, and approaches Antonio with wild sexual abandon. Antonio is disgusted, and so Isabella, revealing her identity, tells him that she is rejecting him as a lover because he cannot see beyond her outward attire. Antonio decides to leave the madhouse, but Lollio reawakens his lust by telling him that Isabella will love him if he fights Franciscus, the counterfeit madman. When Alibius learns that two gentlemen have infiltrated his madhouse, he tells Vermandero, who assumes that Antonio and Franciscus are the murderers of Alonzo. Fortunately, the truth is discovered before Antonio can be hanged, and he shamefacedly admits before the assembled cast that he has been proven a true fool.

ANTONIUS MIZALDUS

A "ghost character". Mizaldus, an actual scholar (1520-78), is noted as inventor of the virginity test in Alsemero's Book of Secrets.

BEATRICE–JOANNA

Beatrice-Joanna is the daughter of the wealthy and powerful Vermandero. Her father has decided that she must marry Alonzo de Piracquo, but when she meets Alsemero, Beatrice decides that he is her man. The lovers meet in secret, but when Alsemero decides to duel with Alonzo, Beatrice, fearful of losing him, plots Alonzo's murder. She hires DeFlores, a disfigured servant whom she has always loathed, to do the deed. DeFlores murders Alonzo, and Vermandero, thinking Alonzo has run away, chooses Alsemero as her new fiancÚ. But Beatrice is horrified when DeFlores demands a sex as payment for his work. He blackmails her, forcing her to sleep with him before her wedding night. After the wedding, the deflowered Beatrice is alarmed to find a test for virginity in Alsemero's closet. Knowing that she would fail the test, she persuades Diaphanta to sleep with Alsemero while he thinks she is Beatrice. She also tries the virginity test on Diaphanta: she passes, and Beatrice copies her reactions when Alsemero tries the test on her. That night, Diaphanta sleeps with Alsemero, but she stays too long, and Beatrice becomes anxious that she will give the game away, so DeFlores murders Diaphanta. Beatrice begins to love DeFlores, because he is so diligent in protecting her. But DeFlores continues to have sex with her, and Jasperino and Alsemero observe them. When Alsemero confronts Beatrice with the evidence, she confesses, says she did it all to marry him. He locks her in his closet, and when DeFlores arrives, thrusts him in after. There, DeFlores stabs Beatrice. She dies begging forgiveness from Alsemero.

CHALDEAN (a)

A "ghost character". Alsemero says a Chaldean (i.e. a wizard) taught him the virginity test. The Chaldean may be Antonius Mizaldus, whom Alsemero's Book of Secrets lists as the inventor of the test.

DEFLORES

DeFlores is a poor gentleman, and a servant of Vermandero. He suffers from a disfiguring skin condition. Beatrice-Joanna loathes him, but DeFlores is in love with her, and constantly finds excuses to be in her presence. Their relationship changes when Beatrice asks DeFlores to murder her fiancÚ, Alonzo. He agrees, but does in the mistaken belief that Beatrice has promised sex as a reward. When he returns to find that Beatrice is offering only money, DeFlores is angered. He reminds her that she is as guilty as him, and blackmails her into sleeping with him before her wedding night. After he has deflowered Beatrice, DeFlores is haunted by Alonzo's ghost and suffers the pangs of conscience. DeFlores kills Diaphanta when Beatrice fears that she will let slip her guilt. Beatrice is so impressed by his diligence in protecting her that she begins to love him. Tomazo suspects DeFlores of his brother's murder, but when he challenges him, DeFlores is struck by conscience and cannot fight. When Beatrice confesses her crime to Alsemero, DeFlores admits his guilt with pride. Alsemero locks him in a closet with Beatrice, where he stabs her to death, and then stabs himself. He dies boasting that he has taken Beatrice's maidenhead, and calling on her to follow him.

DIAPHANTA

Diaphanta is Beatrice-Joanna's waiting-woman. She has a relationship with Jasperino. She is privy to Beatrice's secret love for Alsemero and brings him to her lady's chamber. After the wedding, Beatrice is fearful of Alsemero's virginity test, so she persuades her to sleep with Alsemero as a secret substitute. Diaphanta agrees enthusiastically, but when she does the deed she stays so long that Beatrice becomes fearful that her ploy will be revealed. DeFlores therefore kills Diaphanta by setting fire to her bedroom, and shooting her as she guiltily runs back there.

FELLOW, BEATRICE–JOANNA'S

A "ghost character". Vermandero makes an elliptical reference to a "fellow" of Beatrice-Joanna, who has since died. He may to be referring to a sister of Beatrice who died before she could be married; alternatively, he may be referring to his own deceased wife.

FRANCISCUS

Franciscus is a gentleman of Vermandero's household. He enters the madhouse disguised as a madman, in order to seduce Isabella. When playing the madman, he behaves wildly and speaks in absurd, poetic language. He writes Isabella a letter, concealing his declaration of love within a madly addressed envelope. But Isabella shows the letter to Lollio, who then tricks Franciscus into fighting Antonio for Isabella's love. When Alibius finds out about the infiltrators, he tells Vermandero, who assumes them to be the murderers of Alonzo. Fortunately, the truth is discovered before Franciscus can be hanged, and he shamefacedly admits before the assembled cast that he has been proven "stark mad" in truth.

ISABELLA

Isabella is the young wife of Alibius, owner of the madhouse. Alibius believes that gallants are visiting his asylum to seduce her, so he commands Lollio to guard her while he is away. Confined to the asylum, Isabella becomes bored, and so Lollio takes her on a guided tour. But he is distracted by a disturbance among the madmen, and Antonio, a gallant disguised as a fool, takes the opportunity to reveal his identity and kiss Isabella. Isabella rebuffs him, but when Antonio tries again, Lollio observes him. Lollio tries to blackmail Isabella for sexual favors, but Isabella discourages him by saying she'll ask Antonio to cut his throat. Isabella and Lollio then learn that the madman Franciscus is also a gallant in disguise, when he sends her a love-letter. Lollio begins to think of Isabella as a curer of madmen, and assists her when she proposes to cure Antonio. She dresses as a madwoman, and approaches Antonio with wild sexual abandon. When Antonio is disgusted, Isabella reveals her identity and says she has rejected him as a lover because he has failed to see beyond her outward attire. Later, when Isabella tells Alibius about the disguised gallants (this event is not dramatized), he and Isabella inform Vermandero. In the conclusion, Isabella tells her husband he is a "jealous coxcomb", and he promises to change into a better husband.

JASPERINO

Alsemero's friend, Jasperino is surprised when Alsemero falls in love with Beatrice, but takes the opportunity to form a relationship with Diaphanta the waiting-woman. Later, Jasperino reports to Alsemero that he has overheard Beatrice and DeFlores together. Alsemero's suspicion of Beatrice's chastity is initially calmed by Beatrice's cunning. But Jasperino then shows him a "prospect from the garden" that confirms her adultery.

JOHN de ALSEMERO

A "ghost character". The deceased father of Alsemero, a former acquaintance of Vermandero.

LOLLIO

Lollio is Alibius's comic servant, and the source of much 'low' humour. He interrogates the newly arrived Antonio, and is asked by Alibius to guard Isabella, to prevent her from being seduced by gallants. When Isabella gets bored, Lollio takes her on a tour of the madhouse, but he is distracted by disturbances among the madmen, during which Antonio takes the opportunity to declare his love to Isabella. Lollio spots Antonio's second attempt at seduction. He tries to blackmail Isabella for sexual favors, but she discourages him by saying she'll ask Antonio to cut his throat. Isabella and Lollio then learn that the madman Franciscus is also a disguised gallant, when he sends her a love-letter. Lollio now thinks of Isabella as a curer of madmen, and assists her plan to 'cure' Antonio by lending the key to the wardrobe. After Isabella has bewildered Antonio, Lollio inspires further mayhem by telling both Antonio and Franciscus that Isabella will love them if they get rid of the other.

MADMAN, WELSH

The inmates of Alibius's asylum include a Welshman who was driven mad when a mouse ate his parmesan cheese. Lollio says there is no hope of his recovery.

MADMEN

The madmen in Alibius's asylum make frightening noises behind the walls. At one point, they interrupt Antonio's attempted seduction of Isabella by bursting onstage and acting like birds and beasts. They rehearse before Alibius the "madmen's morris" that he intends to stage at Beatrice-Joanna's wedding.

MADWOMAN

A disguise taken on by Isabella when she accosts Antonio in the madhouse.

MIZALDUS, ANTONIUS

A "ghost character". Mizaldus, an actual scholar (1520-78), is noted as inventor of the virginity test in Alsemero's Book of Secrets.

PEDRO

A friend of Antonio who smuggles him into the madhouse by pretending to be a concerned relative.

PIRACQUO, ALONZO de

Alonzo de Piracquo, a nobleman, has arranged with Vermandero to marry his daughter, Beatrice-Joanna. Alonzo is a trusting innocent, and cannot accept his brother Tomazo's opinion that Beatrice shows "small welcome in her eye". Alonzo is murdered by DeFlores at Beatrice's request. DeFlores cuts off one his fingers. Later, Alonzo's ghost haunts DeFlores, showing his hand with the missing finger.

PIRACQUO, TOMAZO de

A noble lord, brother of Alonzo. Tomazo fails to convince his brother that Beatrice-Joanna does not love him. When Alonzo goes missing, Tomazo roams the castle, hoping to discover the murderer and be revenged. Although he is suspicious of both Alsemero and DeFlores, and tries to pick fights with both, Tomazo agrees with Vermandero that Antonio and Franciscus are the likeliest culprits. In the final scene, DeFlores and Beatrice are revealed as the true culprits. Since DeFlores kills Beatrice and himself, Tomazo feels that his thirst for revenge has been satisfied.

SERVANTS

Alsemero's servants are surprised when he decides not to sail from Alicante, but they are pleased, because it is safer on land.

TOMAZO DE PIRACQUO

A noble lord, brother of Alonzo. Tomazo fails to convince his brother that Beatrice-Joanna does not love him. When Alonzo goes missing, Tomazo roams the castle, hoping to discover the murderer and be revenged. Although he is suspicious of both Alsemero and DeFlores, and tries to pick fights with both, Tomazo agrees with Vermandero that Antonio and Franciscus are the likeliest culprits. In the final scene, DeFlores and Beatrice are revealed as the true culprits. Since DeFlores kills Beatrice and himself, Tomazo feels that his thirst for revenge has been satisfied.

TONY

The disguise of a fool that Antonio adopts to gain access to the madhouse.

VERMANDERO

Vermandero is commander of the castle of Alicante. He plans to marry his daughter, Beatrice-Joanna, to a nobleman, Alonzo de Piracquo. But he meets Alsemero and invites him to stay in the castle, not realizing that Beatrice prefers him to Alonzo. When Alonzo disappears, Vermandero initially assumes that he has run away, and selects Alsemero as Beatrice's new fiancÚ. When it transpires that Alonzo has been murdered, Vermandero assumes that the murderers are Antonio and Franciscus, who have been discovered in disguise in Alibius's lunatic asylum. But the truth is revealed when Alsemero forces Beatrice and DeFlores to confess their crimes. Vermandero is devastated when Beatrice dies, and his only consolation is to embrace Alsemero as a new son.

WELSH MADMAN

The inmates of Alibius's asylum include a Welshman who was driven mad when a mouse ate his parmesan cheese. Lollio says there is no hope of his recovery.

Synopsis:

Vermandero, Beatrice-Joanna's father and a great man of Alicant, seeks to marry his daughter to one Alonzo de Piracquo, a wealthy and noble young man. Beatrice-Joanna is happy enough with the plan until she meets Alsemero.

I.i Alsemero is leaving on business when he meets Beatrice-Joanna in the port town of Alicant. All ideas of business fly from him, and, against the better advice of his friend, Jasperino, Alsemero decides to stay and woo Beatrice-Joanna. This he does until he learns of her imminent marriage. He determines to continue his business abroad. When Beatrice-Joanna returns Alsemero's love, however, he changes his mind again, decides to stay, and determines to challenge Alonzo to a duel to decide who will marry Beatrice-Joanna. Beatrice-Joanna does not like the idea of risking her beloved Alsemero in a duel and seeks another way of ridding herself of the once-loved Alonzo.

A knobby-faced courtier named DeFlores, whose very sight makes her hate him, fondly loves Beatrice-Joanna. But she determines to use DeFlores in her plans to keep Alsemero safe. She persuades him to kill Alonzo secretly. She promises to pay him well for his services. He swears to do her bidding and will ask for his payment afterward.

I.ii Meanwhile, two servants of Vermandero, Antonio (Tony) and Franciscus, have entered Alibius's insane asylum as inmates (neither knowing of the other's plans). They each plan on wooing the old doctor's young wife, Isabella, and cuckolding old Alibius. In the asylum, acting as caretaker, is another old fellow named Lollio; he also has designs on Isabella. Fearing Isabella's unfaithfulness, Alibius keeps her guarded within the asylum whenever he is out.

II.i Upon the arrival of Alonzo and his brother, Tomazo, into Alantia, Tomazo suspects at once that Beatrice-Joanna is none-too-happy to see her intended husband. He is, of course, correct, but Alonzo is too much in love to recognize her indifference.

II.ii Beatrice-Joanna meets Alsemero secretly. Diaphanta leads him to her mistress' room where the lovers exchange love talk. DeFlores spies upon them. DeFlores makes several misogynistic asides, suggesting that virgins become insatiable once they are deflowered. He meets Beatrice-Joanna after the lovers part and again assures her of his fidelity to their plan.

S.D. A stage direction at the beginning of act three informs us that during the act-time (e.g. intermission) Deflores enters and hides "a naked rapier" on stage.

III.i To pass the time before the wedding, Alonzo requests that DeFlores direct him on a tour of the castle. DeFlores seizes the opportunity to lead Alonzo into a thin corridor where one cannot pass with one's weapons on. He entreats the unsuspecting Alonzo to leave his weapons on a peg then leads him through the narrow corridor.

III.ii They reenter immediately into another room in which DeFlores has concealed a sword. There, while he distracts Alonzo's attention with the scenery from the window, DeFlores retrieves the hidden sword and stabs Alonzo to death. He finds a diamond ring on the dead man's finger, but when it will not come off DeFlores cuts off the finger to have the ring.

III.iii Meanwhile, at the asylum, Alibius is away and Lollio tries to entertain Isabella by displaying the latest fool and madman to her. They turn out to be Tony and Franciscus. They behave like fools and madmen while Lollio is watching but seek to court Isabella when Lollio's back is turned. Isabella does not know what to make of them at first, but soon begins to favor Tony. After the fools' entertainment, Lollio locks them back in their rooms. He makes a pass at Isabella. She rebuffs him. Alibius comes home with the news that he has been requested to present an entertainment at the wedding of Beatrice-Joanna and Alonzo, using the madmen as entertainers.

III.iv Vermandero approves of Alsemero, so much so that he wishes that he could marry him to Beatrice-Joanna's sister, a double of Beatrice-Joanna (perhaps a twin). The girl is dead, however, and Vermandero is given new reason to regret her death. This, of course, is all part of Beatrice-Joanna's plot to ingratiate Alsemero into her father's affection so she might marry him when Alonzo is discovered missing.

DeFlores comes to tell Beatrice-Joanna that Alonzo is dead. He shows her the ring he took from Alonzo. Beatrice-Joanna tells him that it was the first token her father made her send to Alonzo. She tells DeFlores to keep it in earnest for his services and promises to pay three thousand gold florins for his work. When he balks at the reward she offers to double it, but DeFlores insists that only carnal knowledge of her will pay for his services. She has no choice but to submit. DeFlores threatens to betray the whole plot, even at the peril of his own life, if she does not yield to him.

Act IV: In a dumb show, we see the nuptials of Beatrice-Joanna and Alsemero. DeFlores' self-satisfaction indicates that his price has been paid before the wedding night. Deflores is in turn haunted by the specter of Alonzo.

IV.i Beatrice-Joanna is fearful that her new husband will discover that she is no virgin to his bed. She pretends to her serving maid, Diaphanta, that she is fearful of losing her maidenhead-deathly afraid in fact-and she convinces Diaphanta to go to bed with her husband in her place and later to tell her what the experience is like. She offers gold, a thousand ducats, for this service. Diaphanta, not unwilling to bed with the handsome Alsemero, agrees.

Beatrice-Joanna has happened across Alsemero's laboratory-where her new husband dabbles in physics-and discovered a liquid that can tell whether a woman is a virgin. It is a milky liquid in a bottle marked "M." If a woman is a virgin, the potion will first make her gape, then sneeze, next laugh, and finally grow melancholy. In order to satisfy herself that Diaphanta is a virgin-and thereby assure the success of her plan-she asks Diaphanta to drink some of the potion, not telling her what it is, but drinking some herself in order to demonstrate that it is not harmful. It has, of course, no effect on Beatrice-Joanna, but it causes Diaphanta to gape, sneeze, laugh, and grow melancholy.

Beatrice-Joanna's plan is set. She contrives with Diaphanta that Diaphanta should go to Alsemero's bed, have sex with him so that he will think it is Beatrice-Joanna's maidenhead he is taking, and then contrive to slip out of bed around midnight. Beatrice-Joanna will then sneak in beside Alsemero and be discovered there in the morning, thus completing the illusion.

IV.ii Alonzo's absence grows more troublesome. Alonzo's brother, Tomazo, suspects foul play. Vermandero demands to know who of his servants has been gone the ten days since Alonzo's disappearance. He is told that Antonio (Tony) and Franciscus have been gone all that time.

DeFlores avoids Tomazo, seeing his guilty act reflected in his victim's brother's eyes.

Tomazo suspects Alsemero of the deed under an unspoken theory of cui bono. That is, because it was Alsemero who benefited from Alonzo's disappearance then he must be responsible for it.

Jasperino tells Alsemero that he heard Beatrice-Joanna and DeFlores in the next room. They were apparently making love. Alsemero refuses to believe it, knowing that Beatrice-Joanna hates the sight of DeFlores. But Jasperino assures him that he and Diaphanta heard the deed committed. This news surprises Alsemero for two reasons:

1) he knows, or thinks he knows, that Beatrice-Joanna hates DeFlores, and
2) Beatrice-Joanna has just sent Diaphanta to tell him that she is so shy about the wedding night that she wants to come to him in total darkness.
Alsemero decides to test Beatrice-Joanna's virginity and gives her a drink of the liquid marked "M." Beatrice-Joanna knows the liquid. She has seen its effect on Diaphanta, so she is able to feign the innocent effect. She thereby convinces Alsemero of her virginity.

IV.iii In the asylum, Lollio now knows of the duplicity of Tony and Franciscus. He helps Isabella by lending her clothes so that she may pretend to be a madwoman. Tony's great argument to her has been that she should love him despite his fool's clothes. She should see his innate nobility beneath. But when he fails to recognize her under her madwoman's disguise, she rejects him.

Lollio convinces the unmasked Tony that Isabella really loves him, but another suitor like himself, Franciscus, bothers her. Lollio convinces Tony that he must rid her of this Franciscus after the masque. Lollio then turns to Franciscus and tells him much the same story about Tony.

V.i Meanwhile, at the castle, the clock has struck one and Diaphanta has not come out to allow Beatrice-Joanna to take her place in bed beside Alsemero. Beatrice-Joanna fears that Diaphanta is enjoying Alsemero too much and will ruin the plan. She decides that Diaphanta must die. At two o'clock DeFlores meets Beatrice-Joanna, who is still waiting on Diaphanta. He fears that the exposure of Beatrice-Joanna will also expose him. He contrives to set Diaphanta's empty bedroom on fire. He will lie in wait for the guilt-ridden Diaphanta, who will rise and flee towards her chamber (for fear of being discovered not to be there). When she approaches he will shoot her.

The plan is so good that Beatrice-Joanna begins to love DeFlores. He now represents salvation to her, and she finds him desirable. But Alonzo's ghost still haunts DeFlores; though he considers the ghost a mere fancy of his, Beatrice-Joanna is also aware of it as it passes them in the corridor.

At the striking of three o'clock DeFlores raises the cry. Diaphanta, as expected, enters, running to her chamber. Just as she gets out of sight, Vermandero and Jasperino enter to see what the commotion is about. DeFlores enters with his loaded "piece" (gun). He explains that he suspects Diaphanta's chimney has stopped up and caught fire, and that he intends to clear it with a gunshot up the flue. For this Vermandero and Jasperino consider him a quick-thinking and noble fellow.

The gun discharges offstage, and DeFlores returns with the news that the fire has consumed Diaphanta while she slept. The plan has worked.

V.ii Next day, Tomazo is out of his head with grief over the disappearance of Alonzo. He begins to suspect everyone and has a fancy that the next person he meets will be the murderer. The next person happens to be DeFlores, the murderer indeed. Tomazo picks a quarrel, but DeFlores, fearing the reminder of his victim in the victim's brother's eyes, backs away from the challenge and makes excuse that he understands the mental turmoil of Tomazo. He therefore refuses to take offense.

Alibius and Isabella have come to Vermandero and told him that his two gentlemen, Tony and Franciscus, are at the asylum incognito. The circumstantial evidence points to their guilt in the disappearance of Alonzo. They had asked leave to go to Briamata. To be found in a nearby asylum incognito is most suspicious. Vermandero turns them over to the wrath of Tomazo, mainly to appease his guest and to clear up the matter.

V.iii Jasperino reports to Alsemero that he has seen Beatrice-Joanna and DeFlores in yet another trysting place. Alsemero again confronts Beatrice-Joanna. Beatrice-Joanna, caught, tells him that he is guilty of making her a bloody villain. She relates how she got DeFlores to murder Alonzo so that she and Alsemero could be together. The news does not work the desired effect of making him love her the more. In fact, it has quite the opposite effect. He orders that she be locked up in his room.

Alsemero next confronts DeFlores with his newfound knowledge of DeFlores' sin. When DeFlores learns that Beatrice-Joanna has confessed his part in the murder of Alonzo, he tells Alsemero about her whorishness and asks to be allowed to see her. Alsemero sends DeFlores to his room where Beatrice-Joanna is locked.

Vermando brings Tony and Franciscus on to tell Alsemero that the guilty have been caught and will stand the punishment Tomazo chooses. Alsemero reveals what he has learned of Beatrice-Joanna and DeFlores. Tony and Franciscus are set free. DeFlores, after stabbing Beatrice-Joanna offstage (her cries are nearly orgasmic), carries Beatrice-Joanna in to them. He makes her confess about the bed trick with Diaphanta and how Diaphanta met her end. He confesses to Alonzo's murder. DeFlores then produces a penknife and stabs himself. Beatrice-Joanna dies asking Alsemero to forgive her. Tomazo is satisfied that the guilty are punished and seeks no more revenge in Vermandero's castle.

The play ends with Alsemero, Antonio, Franciscus, & Alibius saying how they have changed-and with Isabella saying how she will yet change Alibius (into a cuckold). The image of changelings is thereby made patent.

Notes of interest:

Beatrice-Joanna's double name underlies her double personality. The revelation that she had a sister, perhaps a twin that died in infancy, may also have a part to play in her double character.

This is the madcap Tony character that ultimately lent his name to all madmen, who were nicknamed "Tonies" during the eighteenth century.

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