Anonymous: Arden of Faversham (2063 words)

Neil Forsyth (Université de Lausanne); Emily O'Brien (Trinity College Dublin)
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This anonymous play, published in its first quarto edition in 1592, is unusual in that it is based on an actual event: on the title page it calls itself “the lamentable and true tragedy of Master Arden of Faversham in Kent, who was most cruellie murdered, by means of his disloyal and wanton wife”. Indeed, the extended title goes on to proclaim that the tragedy shows us “the great malice and dissimulation of a wicked woman, the insatiable desire of filthy lust, and the shameful end of all murderers” – although the play itself is considerably more nuanced than this suggests. Arden of Faversham may in fact be the earliest surviving example of a distinctive group of Renaissance tragedies (frequently described by critics as �…

Citation: Forsyth, Neil, Emily O'Brien. "Arden of Faversham". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 October 2014 [, accessed 21 June 2021.]

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