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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: September ::
Re: Devils and Witches
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0945.  Tuesday, 23 September 1997.

[1]     From:   Thomas L. Berger <
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        Date:   Monday, 22 Sep 1997 09:21:17 EDT
        Subj:   Re: Devils and Witches

[2]     From:   Megan L Isaac <
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        Date:   Monday, 22 Sep 1997 09:51:05 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0942  Qs: Devils and Witches


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas L. Berger <
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Date:           Monday, 22 Sep 1997 09:21:17 EDT
Subject:        Re: Devils and Witches

Concerning devils and witches, might I refer researchers to AN INDEX OF
CHARACTERS IN ENGLISH PRINTED DRAMA TO THE RESTORATION?  There are
"witches" in MOTHER BOMBIE and ALPHONSUS OF ARAGON, both "before" (but
just) 2 HENRY VI.  There are more devils and demons before 2 HENRY VI
too.  But see AN INDEX . . . . .

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Megan L Isaac <
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Date:           Monday, 22 Sep 1997 09:51:05 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0942  Qs: Devils and Witches
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0942  Qs: Devils and Witches

The question of when the first witch makes an appearance on the English
stage probably can only be answered by defining the term "witch."  In
Gammer Gurton's Needle (early 1550s) two old women look suspiciously
like the social figures stereotyped as witches.  Not only do they use
the word "witch" to insult each other, but they are alone, keep cats,
are involved in petty battles of revenge, etc.  At one point in the play
two other characters even attempt to "conjure up a sprite" by drawing a
circle in the dirt and reciting a charm.  Although these are comedic
figures rather than menacing ones, I'd certainly argue that witchcraft
was being played at on the stage long before Shakespeare.

Megan Isaac
 

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