Denial and Shame Essay

Submitted By lct2024
Words: 2412
Pages: 10

Torrie Cannon
Eng. 423 Ryner
Nov 26, 2013
The Wife of a Shoemaker
My dearest lover, I saw a play today called The Shoemaker’s Holiday and there were two characters that were immensely similar to us and it has caused me great distress. There was shoemaker who was sent off to war just like you were and had to leave his poor wife all alone with his friends who treated her very horribly. They made her sound like a whore and made jokes about her situation. It reminded me so much of us that I began to cry. And the rich people in the galleries were laughing! How they could be so cruel! They will never understand what it’s like to lose your newly married husband to the awfulness of war and have to fend for yourself. It felt like they were laughing at me love! I have never felt so mortified and embarrassed in all my life! You have good friend’s right love, friends that will treat me respectfully, and not like they did that Jane girl in the play? In the end of the play her husband did return to her and was able to stop her next marriage but he was lame and extremely ill. I hope you come home to me in good health my sweetheart; I couldn’t bear to see you in pain or of ill health. Even then the rich people in the galleries still laughed at them because they were poor and didn’t have much to live on. I’m sure it was a good play but I couldn’t watch it because my head was spinning with all of these horrible ideas of how I am to be treated while you are away and if you will ever return home to me. I don’t want to marry anyone else; I am married to you and have given you my heart. Please come home safe to me,
With Love,
In the turn into the 15th Century, the wife of a shoemaker seeing a play by herself or with a possible apprentice would be plausible. She would be a citizen, and it is known that citizen’s wives would attend plays on occasion. Andrew Gurr concludes that: “the wives of citizens were regular playgoers throughout the whole period” and that: “Evidence for the presence of citizens’ wives at plays confirms the inference that citizens themselves were likewise regular playgoers, since no respectable wife could easily attend a play without a male escort” (Gurr 76-77). What if the wife of a shoemaker ever saw the play The Shoemaker’s Holiday by Thomas Dekker? I would argue that she would relate completely with Jane: completely objectified and mocked while her husband was sent off to fight in a war. The wife of a shoemaker who had a husband sent off to war wouldn’t have been that uncommon either because when the play was in theatre in 1599, war was taking place with Ireland along with the Spanish. In this paper I will prove that a young bride of a shoemaker would have been outraged and mortified with this play because of the abhorrent sexual treatment as well as the mocking of the lower class. During the time that The Shoemaker’s Holiday was being performed England was at war with two separate countries, Ireland and Spain. England was fighting with Ireland for power in the Nine Years War. The country was also in a technically undeclared war with Spain that is known today as the Anglo-Spanish War. The war with the Spanish was technically undeclared in that it parliament never declared war with Spain but sent troops to battle with them over religious reasons. (Palmer 129) Both wars were fought on religious quarrels and lasted for years. As David Scott Kastan argues in his article: Comedy and Commerce in The Shoemaker's Holiday, “Impressment and casualty reports would not be matters of indifference to the Rose Theatre audience in 1599. For three years, beginning in 1596, the number of impressed soldiers had begun to increase dramatically as the Irish situation worsened demanding reinforcements and reports reached England of renewed Spanish invasion plans. By the summer of 1599 the fear of an imminent Spanish attack grew acute” (Kastan 329). There are three key scenes that demonstrate how unpleasantly Jane was