I found this play absolutely delightful. I know I've already posted on the first part of the play, but the last half of the play is so interesting that I deemed it worthy of more discussion.
By the time the reader is half way through the play it's obvious that the main character Moll is meant to have stronger morals than any of the other characters. While she obviously crosses the line when it comes to the gender roles of the period, she doesn't cross any moral boundaries within the play. Unlike some of the other characters in the play, she doesn't lie or cheat. She also proves the true strength of her character when she maintains her morals even in the face of temptation. She simply does not waver.
The really interesting thing about Moll is that she is determined to do good by other people. She comes off looking like some type of early modern superhero, defending her friends from pickpockets, defending the honor of women, and helping Sir Alexander to see the error of his ways. All of this is quite comical because it is set against a plot full of characters who are weaving massive webs of deceit and who stay extremely busy plotting against one another and covering up their lies. Moll remains untouched by all of this deception though and even has time to leave the reader with a few moral lessons. The fact that she appears dressed as a woman in the final scene of the play might have even allowed the early modern audience to experience some relief, but I honestly don't think that she has any intentions of changing. She may appear to have changed in this final scene, but her thoughts are those of a modern day feminist. She makes it clear that she may never marry and that she may never change to suit those who find her so monstrous. Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker really won me over with the creation of such a character.