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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant contemporay analysis of the witchcraft craze, 11 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Witch of Edmonton: by William Rowley, Thomas Dekker and John Ford (Revels Student Editions) (Paperback)
This play is an unusually intelligent contemporary drama about the witchcraft craze that swept early modern England. The play depicts Mother Sawyer, a lonely, feeble old woman, who is used as a scapegoat by the villagers of Edmonton for all their woes, and is believed to be a witch even though she isn't. In revenge, Mother Sawyer calls on the Devil for a Faustian pact in which she is given magical powers. She has some fun getting her revenge on the villagers, but ultimately the Devil betrays her, and she is hung at Tyburn.
The play is by no means a modern, materialist analysis of witchcraft, but it is unique in highlighting the scapegoating phenomena as a cause of witchcraft, rather than as a justified response to it, and it also hints that crop failure and disease are natural, not caused by witches. The ultimate message seems to be, 'be nice to your poor neighbours and they won't feel the need to call up the devil in revenge', which is as good a moral as any.
'The Witch of Edmonton' is a fascinating and puzzling mixture of the strikingly modern, and the deeply Jacobean. It's a brilliant piece of theatre, and ought to be a lot more famous than it is. This is the best edition available, because it reprints the original pamphlet on which the play was based.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the witch of edmonton, 30 May 2012
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This review is from: The Witch of Edmonton: by William Rowley, Thomas Dekker and John Ford (Revels Student Editions) (Paperback)
bought it for a uni project, ended up being a very enjoyable read. well worth the money spent. buy it
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