Friday, May 1, 2009

The Witch of Edmonton - the first half

This play by Thomas Dekker, John Ford and William Rowley makes the reader ponder the nature of evil. Although the play is about an accused witch, her part is minuscule compared with some of the other characters who appear numerous times within the play. Within the first half of the play Elizabeth Sawyer, the accused witch, has a few short appearances, while the main plot concerns many other characters. Within her parts she appears as a social outcast who seems to wish revenge on the characters who torment her. While her character does take part in behaviors related to witchcraft, she never really brings harm to anyone with her own hands and the only evil that is really evident is her communication with a devil dog who appears within several scenes prior to the occurrence of unfortunate events. The real evil within this play doesn't seem to be the witch. The real evil seems to be present in the other plots when Sir Arthur and Frank Thorney conspire individually to deceive their family and friends. These men aren't even those who Sawyer wishes to bewitch. Their evil is actually their own. It certainly makes one question where the real evil is within society. Within certain sections of the play evil appears as society itself, when Sawyer is being treated poorly prior to having done any harm.

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