William Rowley: The Witch of Edmonton

(650 words)
  • Lisa Hopkins (Sheffield Hallam University)

The Witch of Edmonton, a collaborative piece by Thomas Dekker, John Ford, and William Rowley, was first acted in 1621 (there is a record of a performance at Court on 29 December of that year), though not published until 1658. When first acted, it was a topical play, for Elizabeth Sawyer, the real-life model of the eponymous witch, had been executed on 19 April 1621. The play draws heavily on a pamphlet by Henry Goodcole, The wonderful discoverie of Elizabeth Sawyer, Witch (1621), but takes a rather different attitude. Goodcole's witch is simply a bad woman, who has no particular need to seek magical aid since she has a husband to support her and a family. The Sawyer of the play, however, is a poor, lonely, and unfairly …

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Hopkins, Lisa. "The Witch of Edmonton". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 October 2000
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=8183, accessed 08 July 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. English Renaissance Theatre - Jacobean