Abstract

This essay demonstrates how the dual plots of The Witch of Edmonton and Henry Goodcole's related pamphlet are unified by their common concern with the legal and performative power of words. Both play and pamphlet emphasize the power of speech, in particular the swearing of oaths and confessions, to constitute and to transform identity. Though patterned after its source pamphlet, the play ultimately diverges to demonstrate how speech legitimated by the processes of law often awkwardly coexists with its more popular expression, thereby simultaneously critiquing early modern law while laying claim to the very power that enables it.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1522-9270
Print ISSN
0039-3657
Pages
pp. 127-145
Launched on MUSE
2010-02-24
Open Access
No
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