The Witch Figure: The Witch of Edmonton

O'Mahoney, Katherine
October 2009
Seventeenth Century;Autumn2009, Vol. 24 Issue 2, p238
Academic Journal
This article considers the use of self-murder in the representation of the contemporary witch in Rowley, Dekker and Ford's The Witch of Edmonton. Contrasting the pamphlet source with the dramatic representation of Elizabeth Sawyer, I identify suicide as an act which demonises the staged witch. By identifying self-killing as the act which definitively stigmatises the staged witch-figure, this article breaks new ground and undermines the premise of recent criticism that The Witch of Edmonton affords a sympathetic portrait of the early modern witch. Furthermore, in situating The Witch of Edmonton within an environment of competing pamphlets and ballads, I identify theatre as crucial in the development of contemporary meaning.


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