Saying Farewell with Shoes: The Gift Cycle and Unresolved Class Tensions in The Shoemaker's Holiday
A close look at Ralph Damport’s farewell gift to his wife Jane--a pair of shoes--reveals that Dekker uses their relationship to undermine his seemingly convivial ending. He manipulates the shoes to reveal Jane’s ability to assume a new class status by simply donning expensive clothes. The final scenes of the play confirm that the class-based conflicts ensure that the future of Ralph and Jane’s reunion remains suspended, and, contrary to the arguments made by critics such as David Bevington and David Kastan, so does the idyllic ending.
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