Abram-man

Definition

Theater

  • In Tudor and Stuart times, a wandering beggar who pretended to bementally ill. Inmates of Bedlam who were not dangerous were kept in the 'Abraham Ward' and sometimes allowed out in distinctive dress to beg, thus giving an opportunity to many imposters.

    In King Lear Edgar disguises himself as a mad beggar('Poor Tom') in order to help his stricken father.Abram-men also appear in Fletcher and Massinger's Beggar's Bush(c. 1622), which features a "ragged regiment" ofbeggars, and are alluded to in Massinger's A New Way to Pay OldDebts.

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