Arden Of Faversham

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Arden of Faversham, an anonymous play thought to be a collaboration between prominent Early Modern playwrights, is based on Hollinshed’s account of “a gentleman named Arden most cruelly murdered and slain by the procurement of his own wife” in Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland (Arden, “Appendix” 113). Even though Hollinshed is giving an account of what happened thirty years ago, in a society so concerned with possession of land, by using familiar tropes such as class anxiety and social climbing, correspondences of trade and exchange, patrilineal pressures, premonitory dreams, and the poison and knife as murder weapons, the domestic tragedy successfully displays the politics of domestic space, infidelity, ownership and male same-sex…show more content…
However, as explained in the Introduction to the New Mermaids edition of Arden, Tom Lockwood eloquently summarizes how Alice’s transgression as an unfaithful and powerful wife portrays Arden’s failure to do justice to his newfound position: as a result of Arden’s misgovernment, “domestic commonwealth [has] come politically, as well as sexually, apart” (xiv). In light of this idea, with this essay, I will make the case that the Arden reminds the audiences that politics and sex, as well as social class and gender, are inseparable, especially in a society that is governed primarily by responsibilies of economic and social ownership. As the play opens, Franklin, who is the character that speaks first, presents Arden with “all the lands of the Abbey of Faversham” (i.5) given to him by a letter from his majesty and the Lord…show more content…
His home was a private commonwealth, and thus his social and economic transgressions as a bad homemaker and misgovernor, which would constitute a bad image of the family as a whole, would need to be met by punishment, for justice to be served. It is evident in the play that Arden is rarely home, and as we can see from his dismissiveness, nor does he care about what happens in the domestic space he owns when he is not there. He agrees to have Mosby as a friend as he leaves for London with Franklin, essentially allowing the affair to continue, although he does not say it out loud. Arden is home only in the beginning and at the end of the play: throughout the play, he is constantly with Franklin, in London, on a ferry, at an inn, at Lord Cheiny’s house. When he is in London with Franklin in Scene iii, he momentarily gets angry when he finds out that Susan and Michael might be having an affair, saying, “once at home / I will rouse her from remaining in my house,” however, he forgets this declaration by the time he gets back. Arden’s misgovernment is openly declared by Alice in Scene xiii, right after Arden wounds Mosby for having an affair with his wife. Alice connects his misgovernment to his mistreatment of her, and
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