Introduction: Histories and Contexts in The Witch of Edmonton
This Issues in Review invites us to think afresh about worlds turned inside out and upside down during the transformative decades of the first half of the seventeenth century. The contributions situate The Witch of Edmonton by focusing on marriage, women, and property; on swearing and the reformation of manners; on witchcraft, gender, and social relations; and on the role of emotions in shaping the play’s meaning. Taking the play's argument as the starting point, the introduction identifies a number of themes that bring the three plots – Frank’s bigamous marriage and his murder of Susan, Elizabeth Sawyer’s turn to witchcraft, and Cuddy’s flirtation with the supernatural – into conversation with one another. Locating its historical, spatial, and temporal contexts shows how the playwrights addressed contemporary concerns about the rapidly changing and much discussed world around them
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