The Witch of Edmonton

The Witch of Edmonton It Is A Historical Phenomenon That While Thousands Of Women Were Beingburnt As Witches In Early Modern Europe, The English Although Therewere A Few Celebrated Trials And Executions, One Of Which The Playdramatises Were Not Widely Infected By The Witch Craze The Stageseems To Have Provided An Outlet For Anxieties About Witchcraft, Aswell As An Opportunity For Public Analysis The Witch Of Edmonton Manifests This Fundamentally Reasonable Attitude, With Dekkerinsisting On Justice For The Poor And Oppressed, Ford Providingpsychological Character Studies, And Rowley The Clowning The Villagecommunity Of Edmonton Feels Threatened By Two Misfits, Old MotherSawyer, Who Has Turned To The Devil To Aid Her Against Her Unfeelingneighbours, And Frank, Who Refuses To Marry The Woman Of His Father Schoice And Ends Up Murdering Her This Edition Shows How The Playgenerates Sympathy For Both And How Contemporaries Would Have Respondedto Its Presentation Of Village Life And Witchcraft

Thomas Dekker c 1572 1632 was an Elizabethan dramatist and pamphleteer, a versatile and prolific writer whose career spanned several decades and brought him into contact with many of the period s most famous dramatists.

❰BOOKS❯ ✸ The Witch of Edmonton Author Thomas Dekker –
  • Paperback
  • 115 pages
  • The Witch of Edmonton
  • Thomas Dekker
  • English
  • 23 September 2019
  • 9780713642537

10 thoughts on “The Witch of Edmonton

  1. says:

    Is the name of witch so pleasing to thine ear It is wonderful the range of interpretations this play is open to I would love to see it on stage.

  2. says:

    This was another play text I bought because it was one of the plays Beatrix Lehmann was in She performed as Winifred in the 1936 performance of the play at the Old Vic I thoroughly enjoyed reading this The play was written in 1621, the same year the actual Witch of Edmonton was executed for being a witch This version of the play had a good basic introduction to the history of witchcraft trials in the UK, as well as analysis of the play and some details of it s past performances It makes references to well known actors playing lesser roles including the 1936 production which mentions the character Beatrix plays but not her name It also includes an original reproduction of the actual court case and confession which was very interesting to contrast with the play.The play I thought was very good There was an awful lot being said about gender, social conditions and poverty in this play I liked that they made the witch a sympathetic character who was driven to the pact with the devil due to harsh treatment and poverty People accused her of being a witch before she tried to become one This was counterbalanced with the story of the man who married two women, and seemed the most dastardly of the piece and yet also having to conform to social conventions that harmed him It was interesting to see that the witch wasn t powerful, that the devil wouldn t perform the deeds for her that she wanted The fact that he existed seemed to be part of the culture at the time but he was in fact quite a powerless devil Albeit he may have been responsible for a death But I also liked the fact that there was a lot of ambiguity in the play as to who was ultimately responsible.Reading this I thought it would be fascinating to see on stage As I was reading it I saw the RSC are currently doing a production which sounded amazing, but unfortunately it s only on till the end of November in Stratford so I won t be able to get to see it Here s hoping for a London transfer.

  3. says:

    3.5A very easy to read early modern play that considers ideas of gender and scapegoating via the witch trials I mean this is no Shakespearean language and there is minimal character development but maybe this one just gets my high mark for its challenge of authoritative male power to subjectify and subjugate women as witches or as beholden to labels The witch here, Elizabeth Sawyer, was a real woman trialled and hanged In the back of my edition there is the pamphlet from her trial and it details this sad demise of a woman, here interviewed, just saying whatever about her deals with the devil to appease these people but doomed either way In this play, however, this silenced woman is given a voice She s feisty and vocal about accusations against her I also found the devil, a black dog, hilarious And Young Banks, trying to convince him of another profession other than devilry very cute go work for a butcher, he implores, there s still time to do good There s a scene where a polygamist accuses his unwitting second wife of being a whore and the cognitive dissonance as highlighted by this play is just astounding Unlike Elizabeth whose only crimes of old age, and lack of a husband to control her , his wife is a good wife , convinced that it is a GOOD thing her husband is killing her lest she continue in adultery She s a complete martyr and pushover and he thinks that he HAS to kill her it s her fault, she s pushed him to it Bonkers That kind of scapegating of women is still relevant The real transcript in the back are haunting The structure is odd, though, I ll admit two different streams of plot only sort of intertwining in the end.

  4. says:

    Some call me a witch.And, being ignorant of myself, they go About to teach me how to become one A very dramatic play, full of love, murder and witchcraft but firmly situated within a realistic Elizabethan society The dichotomy of the ordinary and the supernatural makes for an engaging read, I would love to see this performed.

  5. says:

    Not a fan Other than the talking devil dog this was pretty hard going.Might have a change of rating after studying it in a few weeks time but at the moment it s not looking hopeful

  6. says:

    Written in 1621, in the midst of dozens of witchcraft trials taking place in England, The Witch of Edmonton provides a fascinating insight into the happenings The play is inspired by a true event, but beyond the main character s name, Mother Elizabeth Sawyer, it bears little in common with its real world counterpart Instead of trying to stick to facts, the authors, Dekker, Ford and Rowley, choose to utilize their tragic comedy as a forum for commentating about various societal and religious beliefs of the period The main way they accomplish this is through their use of two parallel plotlines detailing the exploits of Mother Sawyer and the character Frank Thorney In both stories, there is a representation of the criminal behavior that can result from lack of money and the overwhelming burden of social pressure This pressure is complicated further by an intervention of the Devil, who deceives the characters into committing horrendous crimes.Thorney is meant to serve as a warning to the reader about the power of the devil s influence over one s soul Although noone would question the devil s ability to tempt an old Crone such as Mother Sawyer, it is harder to imagine Thorney, an upstanding citizen, being just as easily coerced In the seventeenth century, society viewed the devil as holding a very real place in their lives Danger and sin were lurking around every corner and if one was not careful, it could be very easy to fall prey By opening themselves up to sin, Thorney and Sawyer become his victims and serve as warnings to the rest of society Initially, Thorney s sin is born of overwhelming outside social pressure Upon finding out that his mistress, Winnifrede is pregnant, Thorney makes the decision to secretly marry It is shortly after this, however, that Thorney s father makes a speech threatening Thorney that if he does not marry the wealthy Susan Carter, his inheritance will be null Thorney concedes to the threat in the name of maintaining peace The message is clear to the reader that even small sins can easily lead to much larger ones, and that if Thorney had chosen to avoid sin from the beginning, he would not have been put in the position of becoming a pawn for the devil later on The same can be said of the main character, Mother Sawyer In the beginning of the story, she is portrayed much as an innocent Because of her deformed appearance she is rejected by society and horribly harassed She is forced to endure abuse from her neighbors in many forms including the burning of her own thatch roof, a test the villagers perform to determine her status as a witch When she can take it no , Sawyer succumbs to the village s opinion of her and begins to actively play the part of a witch It is at this point that the devil dog intercedes and Sawyer agrees to sell her soul Like Thorney, Sawyer begins with a small sin cursing which becomes the gateway for much serious offenses It is at this point though, that the two stories diverge and the playwrights intentions are called into question Besides the intervention of the devil in both Mother Sawyer and Frank Thorney s lives, and their mutual subjectivity to intense social pressure, the two characters situations bear little resemblance to one another Thorney s case overall exudes a much psychological nature However, as previously mentioned, Mother Sawyer begins the story as an innocent or and the devil dog only introduces himself to her after she has come to the realization that no matter the balance of good and evil within her, she will be viewed the same by the larger community.

  7. says:

    The Witch of Edmonton was the next play covered in my online course about early modern English theater It was very interesting in its portrayal of the title character apparently based on a real case contemporary with the play s writing in 1621 She essentially states that she was forced into witchcraft because her neighbors accused her of being a witch already This seems like an adept depiction of the mania about witchcraft in 17th century England and its colonies People found witches because they wanted to find witches However, Mother Sawyer, the witch of Edmonton, is shown actually carrying out nefarious deeds with the help of the devil in the form of a talking dog One has to assume that some of these scenes were played for laughs.If the scenes with Mother Sawyer were the main part of the play, it could have been quite powerful However, her story is at best a subplot The main storyline follows a man who has been forced to marry two different women, one to appease his landlord and the other to enable his father to get out of debt The only connection between the two stories is that he also has dealings with the talking dog, who inspires him to kill his second wife There are also scenes involving morris dancing, only tangentially connected with the two main plot lines The Witch of Edmonton has three credited authors, and I am tempted to blame the lack of a unified voice for the scattershot nature of the play But collaborative authorship was evidently quite common in this era of theater scholars believe that many of Shakespeare s plays were written with a co author Whatever the reason, the play struck me as a bit of a mess, though it contains within it some really good material.

  8. says:

    I read this play for school, and was quite impressed It s not the typical type of book I read, but I still enjoyed it A great alternative if you want to hit up some old school drama, but are are sick of the Bard.

  9. says:

    Staggeringly good, the scene where the devil dog leads cuddy to the apparition is especially noteworthy for switching easily and effectively between cuddys rustic low comedy and the chilling words of the devil

  10. says:


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