Arden of Faversham and The Shoemakers Holiday

4 plays down…12 to go!

These are two short, not greatly well-known plays so I am just going to give a brief overview of them both. Arden of Faversham has no known author and The Shoemakers’ Holiday is by Thomas Dekker. Both of these plays were written in the Renaissance period.

Arden of Faversham

Based on a real event of the bloody killing of Thomas Arden, the Arden of Faversham focuses on nine different attempts to take Arden’s life. The play questions several aspects of this social period such as the unstable culture, the lust of the lovers, social injustice and selfishness. These aspects foreshadow the private lives of the characters and the passion for killing her husband Arden mirrors Alice’s love for Mosby and Mosby’s love for money and position. I didn’t particularly enjoy reading this play, it lacked character development, plot structure and occasionally the attempts of killing Arden become confused and struggle to establish the real concept of the plot. If I had known a little more of the actual event it had been based on then I may have been able to appreciate the play more. Hopefully with a little work, some research and possibly the chance to watch the play I can discover the true meaning of what the plot tries to interpret. Overall, a dismal 3/10.


The Shoemakers’ Holiday

This is another play that presents the social views of this period. Not only does it seem to reflect and honour the past, it promotes love, friendship, sacrifice, loyalty and family and seems to glorify the medieval times. However, this play has deeper meanings to it including treason, military conscription, attitudes towards the war in France and discusses the class-ridden society. I’m not exactly sure what this play is trying to present but I think it is along the lines of the new world and the new image of workers and craftsmen. Here, they seem to dictate the play and force the two relationships that occur within it. Like the Arden of Faversham, more work is needed to discover the real meaning but overall, this play gets 4/10 as I think that there is potential that can be found.

If anyone has read either of these plays I’d be interested in what you have to say! If you like these sort of plays and are planning to read them, then enjoy!



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