Arden of Faversham
This 'lamentable and true tragedy', as it is announced on its title page, dramatises a domestic murder of the sort that nowadays scandalises and thrills the readers of tabloid newspapers. Although the title advertises 'the great malice and dissimulation of a wicked woman' and her 'unsatiable desire of filthie lust', the unknown playwright with great dramatic skill and psychological insight manages to balance the motivations of all the main characters. Thomas Arden, one of the rapacious landlords so reviled in mid-Elizabethan social drama, was murdered at his own house in Faversham, Kent, in 1551. His murderers, it turned out, had been hired by his wife Alice, thrall to Mosby, who hoped to rise socially by marrying a rich widow. As the introduction to this edition shows, sexual and material covetousness is the central theme running through the play, which is commonly rated 'unquestionably the best of all Elizabethan domestic tragedies'.
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Abbey Adam Fowle ALICE Ah Alice's Arden and Franklin Arden of Faversham Arden's house Arden's murder audience blood Bradshaw CLARKE coming countinghouse death deed doors doth dramatic early modern enters arden enters michael enters mosby Exeunt arden Exit michael farewell Faversham Abbey fear FERRYMAN Flower-de-Luce gentle gentleman Greene hath heart heaven Holinshed horse husband Isle of Sheppey Kent knave lands language leave letter live London Lord Cheiny M. C. Bradbrook Master Arden Master Franklin Master Mosby MAYOR michael ARDEN Mistress Alice Mistress Arden MOSBY Ay Mosby's sister ne'er never night oath ofFaversham painter Paul's performance Petty Treason play play's plot pray thee quarto Rainham Scene XIV Shakebag Shakespeare Sirrah speak speech stay Stephen Orgel Sturgess Sugden Susan sweet Alice sword tell Theatre thine thou hast Tragedy Tush villain wife Wine words Zounds