Act One Scene One: The plot begins in Mr Peachums business ‘The Beggar’s friend Ltd’. A place where he is employing people as beggars to try and make him money. It shows his illegal actions and unfairness to the beggars. The Subplot shows that Mr and Mrs Peachum did not marry for love. This is conveyed in the ‘No they can’t’ song. The song is about thinking you’re in love and it getting you into trouble and about young people not really understanding what marriage is all about: ‘its fun they want SO they end up on their arses in the shit/’ Mr Peachum is more interested in his finances than any relationships.
Act One Scene Two: The Plot is about Mac and Polly’s wedding in a stable in Soho. We are introduced to the idea of Mac having a gang. It also begins to show Macs relationship with Jackie/Tiger Brown. Polly is not pleased with Macs attitude to breaking into other people’s property. The Subplot shows a power struggle between Jake and Matthew. They both try to impress Mac, they often do this by overriding each other but they are often clearly scared of Mac, especially when he gets angry.
Act One Scene Three: The plot is about Mr and Mrs Peachums anger at finding out that their only daughter has secretly married the local gangster. They are upset because Polly will not be able support them financially. ‘If I give away my daughter, the sole prop of my old age, why, my house will cave in and my last dog will run off. ‘ The subplot shows that again Mr Peachum is only interested in money and not any emotional attachments. It leads us to the conclusion that Peachum dislikes Mac; it is the beginning of another power struggle as both Peachum and Mac are doing illegal business.
Act Two Scene Four: The Plot is about Polly explaining to Mac that the police are after him and that he should flee the area. Mac announces that he is going to ride over Highgate heath and hide. He hands his business over to Polly. The subplot here shows that like Peachum, Mac finds money more important than emotions. There is also a power struggle between Mac and Matthew; we find out that Mac gets the credit for most of Matthews’s hard work. Interlude: The interlude consists of Mrs Peachums Song ‘The Ballad of Sexual Obsession’.
In this she explains that Mac will go and visit the whores in Turnbridge despite of anything that is going on around him. He cannot control his sexual urges. In this section Mrs Peachums tells Jenny that she will pay her to turn Mac in when she next sees him. ‘Who does him down, that’s done a lot. The women. Want it or not, he can’t ignore the call. Sexual obsession has him in its thrall. ‘ Act Two Scene Five: The plot is Mac going to visit the whores at his regular time. Jenny reads Macs palm and tells him that he is going to be betrayed.
Mac expects Polly to do this but he is mistaken. He is arrested. The Subplot brings up Mac and Jenny’s past especially when they sing the ‘Ballad of immoral earnings’. Mac used to treat Jenny badly. Now it is clear that Jenny is desperate for money and will even betray him to get some. Act Two Scene Six: Lucy arrives to visit Mac in Jail, she knows of Macs relationship with Polly Peachum. She is angry when Polly arrives. They start arguing and Mac disclaims Polly. ‘You see it’s just a trick of Polly’s. She wants to come between us.
I’m going to be hanged and she wants to parade as my widow. ‘ The Subplot shows us that when disclaiming Polly Mac is accepting Lucy. He knows that Lucy is Jackie/Tiger Browns daughter, he realising that by upsetting Lucy he may upset Brown that could get him into serious trouble. Act Three Scene Seven: The Plot is about Peachums plans to disrupt the coronation with Beggars. Tiger Brown tries to arrest him for all his illegal activities but Mr Peachums successfully talks his way out by bringing up Mac and Browns relationship.
‘Because he’s your pal Brown. ‘ The Subplot shows how easily Brown can be blackmailed; this gives us some clues as to how he and Mac have managed to stay friends. We once again see Mr Peachums desire for money. Act Three Scene Eight: Polly and Lucy are once again arguing over Mac however they realise what is going on and make friends, we find out that Lucy wasn’t really pregnant. Mac is recaptured and sentenced to hang. The Subplot shows that although Polly fully understands that Mac is a criminal she is still undoubtedly in love with him.
Mrs Peachum is pleased to see that Mac is being hung, as she wants her daughter to return to her business. ‘You’ll be a lovely widow. But you’ll have to cheer up a little. ‘ Act Three Scene Nine: Mac is to be hung under the bells of Westminster. Polly visits Mac. Mac tries to buy himself out but does not get the money together in time. He is ready to hand when the queen sends a royal official to pardon him. ‘Reprieved, my dearest Macheath is reprieved. ‘ The subplot shows us that Mac tries to make himself into middle class by eating Asparagus.