Anxiety Fiction

Domestic Poisoning in Early Modern News, Arden of Faversham, and Hamlet

in Explorations in Renaissance Culture
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

In response to the representational copia surrounding poisoning, critics have tended to focus on how early modern writers adopted Italianate settings and characters due to the pervasive correlation between poison and Italy in England’s cultural imagination. This critical preoccupation has led to an undervaluing of the role that domestic English news depictions of poison played in the construction of criminality. Contemporary media theorizations concerning the commercial uses of fear help unpack how early modern news reports depicted the threat of household poisoning out of proportion to actual risk in order to profit from developing public anxiety. Popular drama, as evidenced in Arden of Faversham and Hamlet, responded to the news media’s commercialization of fear by creating its own set of “anxiety fictions” that were crucial in defining deviancy and proliferating public apprehension. Ultimately, various forms of cultural media reinforced public fears surrounding the threat of domestic subversion and concomitantly had a negative effect on social and legal policy.

Anxiety Fiction

Domestic Poisoning in Early Modern News, Arden of Faversham, and Hamlet

in Explorations in Renaissance Culture

References

AlexanderNigel. Poison Play and Duel: A Study in Hamlet. London: Routledge1971.

AldusP.J. Mousetrap: Structure and Meaning in Hamlet. Toronto: U of Toronto P1977.

AltheideDavid L. Creating Fear: News and the Construction of Crisis. New York: Aldine de Gruyter2002.

Anonymous. The Araignement & Burning of Margaret Ferne-seede. London: 1608.

Anonymous. Arden of Faversham. Ed. WhiteMartin. London: A&C Black1982.

Anonymous. Murther Murther or a b’oody Relation how Anne Hamton…by poyson murthered her deare husband. London: Thomas Bates1641.

Anonymous. Three Inhumane Murthers Committed by One Bloudy Person. London: H.E.1675.

BaconFrancis. The Essays of Francis Bacon. Project Guttenberg. Web. May 14 2013.

——. The Letters and Life of Francis Bacon. 7 Vol. Ed. SpeddingJames. London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts1869.

BellanyAlastair. The Politics of Court Scandal in Early Modern England: News Culture and the Overbury Affair. Cambridge: Cambridge UP2002.

BowersFredson. “The Audience and the Poisoners of Elizabethan Tragedy.” Journal of English and Germanic Philology36 (1937): 491504.

BrucherRichard T.Fantasies of Violence: Hamlet and The Revenger’s Tragedy.” Studies in English Literature 21.2 (1981): 257270.

CappBernard. When Gossips Meet: Women Family and Neighbourhood in Early Modern England. Oxford: Oxford up2004.

ClarkSandra. Women and Crime in the Street Literature of Early Modern England. Houndmills, Hampshire: Palgrave2003.

CraigHugh and KinneyArthur F.. Shakespeare Computers and the Mystery of Authorship. Cambridge: Cambridge up2009.

DolanFrances. Dangerous Familiars: Representations of Domestic Crime in England 1550–1700. Ithaca: Cornell up1994.

DouglasMary and WildavskyAaron. Risk and Culture: The Selection of Technological and Environmental Dangers. London: U of California P1983.

DugdaleGilbert. A True Discourse of The Practices of Elizabeth Caldwell. London: James Roberts1604.

FoucaultMichel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Vintage1995.

GlassnerBarry. The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things. New York: Basic Books1999.

GoodcoleHenry. “A Short Tract upon the Hainousness of Poysoning.” The Adultresses Funerall Day. London: John Oakes1635.

GrossKenneth. “The Rumor of Hamlet.” Raritan 14:2 (1994): 4367.

GreenblattStephen. Introduction. The Tragedy of Hamlet. The Norton Shakespeare. Gen. Ed. GreenblattStephen. New York: W.W. Norton1997. 1659–1666.

HarrisJonathan Gil. Foreign Bodies and Body Politic: Discourses of Social Pathology in Early Modern England. Cambridge: Cambridge UP1998.

HallissyMargaret. Venomous Women: Fear of the Female in Literature. Westport, CT: Greenwood1987.

HuntJohn. “A Thing of Nothing: The Catastrophic Body in Hamlet.” Shakespeare Quarterly39.1 (1988): 2744.

I.T.The Just Downfall of Ambition Adultery and Murder. London1616.

JonsonBen. Every Man in his Humour. The Complete Plays of Ben Jonson Vol. 1. Ed. G.A. Wilkes et al. Oxford: Clarendon1981. 177274.

KaneStuart. “Wives with Knives: Early Modern Murder Ballads and the Transgressive Commodity.” Criticism38 (1996): 219237.

KydThomas. The Trueth of the Most Wicked and Secret Murthering of John Brewen Goldsmith. London1592.

Marlowe Christopher. The Jew of Malta. Ed. N.W. Bawcutt. Manchester: Manchester UP 1978.

McMahonVanessa. Murder in Shakespeare’s England. London: Hambledon2006.

MahalikChrista. “The Rising Gorge: Poison, Hamlet, and Sin.” The Apothecary’s Chest: Magic Art and Medication39.1 (2009): 4957.

MustazzaLeonard. “Language as Poison, Plague, and Weapon in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Othello.” Pennsylvania English 11.2 (1985): 514.

Norton Thomas and ThomasSackville. Gorboduc. Two Tudor Tragedies. Ed. William Tydeman. London: Penguin1992. 47126.

OlsenThomas G.Iachimo’s ‘Drug-Damn’d Italy’ and the Problem of British National Character in Cymbeline.” Shakespeare Yearbook 10 (1999): 267296.

OrlinLena Cowen. “Man’s House as His Castle in Arden of Feversham.” Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England II. Ed. BarrollLeeds et al. New York: AMS1985. 5789.

PerryCurtis. Literature and Favoritism in Early Modern England. Cambridge: Cambridge up2006.

PollardTanya. Drugs and Theater in Early Modern England. Oxford: Oxford up2005.

PriceHereward T.The Function of Imagery in Webster.” pmla 70.4 (1955): 717739.

RaymondJoad. Pamphlets and Pamphleteering in Early Modern Britain. Cambridge: Cambridge up2003.

RowlandsSamuel. “The Bride.” London1617.

ScotReginald. Scot's Discovery of witchcraft proving the common opinions of witches contracting with divels spirits or familiars … to be but imaginary erronious conceptions and novelties. London: Andrew Clark1651.

ShakespeareWilliam. Cymbeline. Ed. WarrenRoger. Oxford: Oxford up1998.

——. Hamlet. Ed. HibbardG.R.. Oxford: Oxford up2008.

——. The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Ed. GreenblattStephen et al. New York: W.W. Norton1997. 15251590.

SharpeJ.A.Crime in Early Modern England 1550–1750. 2nd ed.London: Longman1998.

——. ‘“Last dying Speeches’: Religion, Ideology and Public Execution in Seventeenth-Century England.”Past and Present107 (1985): 144167.

StephenScott. “Here is Nought but Feare: Otherness, Fear, and Dramatic Equity in Arden of Feversham.” Alienation and Resistance: Representation in Text and Image. Eds. SparkGordon et al. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars2010. 204218.

StearnsPeter N.American Fear: The Causes and Consequences of High Anxiety. New York: Routledge2006.

SullivanGarrett. “‘Arden Lay Murdered in that Plot of Ground’: Surveying, Land, and Arden of Faversham.” elh 61 (1994): 231252.

TassiMarguerite A.Lover, Poisoner, Counterfeiter: The Painter in Elizabethan Drama.” Ben Jonson Journal7 (2000): 129156.

TemperaMariangela. “The Rhetoric of Poison in John Webster’s Italianate Plays.” Shakespeare’s Italy: Functions of Italian Locations in Renaissance Drama. Eds. MarrapodiMicheleet al. Manchester: Manchester UP1993. 229250.

ThomasCatherine E. “Toxic Encounters: Poisoning in Early Modern English Literature and Culture.” Literature Compass9.1 (2012): 4855.

WebsterJohn. The White Devil. Ed. John Russell Brown. London: Methuen1970.

WhiteMartin. Introduction. Arden of Faversham. By Anonymous. London: A&C Black1982. 930.

WilsonMiranda. Poison’s Dark Works in Renaissance England. Lewisburg: Bucknell up2014.

WineM.L. ed. The Revels Plays: Arden of Faversham. London: Methuen1973.

75

ShakespeareHamlet 5.2.5.

77

ShakespeareHamlet 5.2.59–73. John Hunt contends that “it has become a commonplace in Hamlet criticism that the motif of ulcerous infection and corruption…centers on the speech in which Hamlet is told how poison was poured into his father’s ears coursed through his blood and ate away his body from within” (32).

78

ShakespeareHamlet 5.2.63–4.

79

ShakespeareHamlet 5.2.67. Kenneth Gross describes this scene as “a kind of aural rape” (61) and Tanya Pollard reads the Ghost’s relation as one that particularly evokes “the vulnerability of the interior self to the contaminating power of language” (124).

80

ShakespeareHamlet 4.7.65.

81

ShakespeareHamlet 4.7.68–69.

82

ShakespeareHamlet 5.2.214.

83

ShakespeareHamlet 5.2.241.

84

ShakespeareHamlet 5.2.242.

87

ShakespeareHamlet 5.2. 278–279.

88

ShakespeareHamlet 5.2.260–261.

89

ShakespeareHamlet 5.2.271–2. The play’s inclusion of Laertes’ confession ties it generically to crime journalism as news reports consistently included verbatim criminal confessions as a main selling feature. J.A. Sharpe notes that “the purpose of these speeches unsurprisingly enough was to remind spectators that the death of the condemned constituted an awful warning” (lds 150).

90

ShakespeareHamlet 5.2. 280–281.

91

ShakespeareHamlet 3.3.80–81.

93

ShakespeareHamlet 2.2.586.

95

Greenblatt 1665.

96

ShakespeareJulius Caesar 2.1.180.

97

ShakespeareHamlet 5.2.330–331.

100

ShakespeareHamlet 5.2.294.

101

ShakespeareHamlet 5.2.292–293.

102

ShakespeareHamlet 5.2.332–339.

103

ShakespeareHamlet 5.2.334.

Figures

  • View in gallery

    Frontispiece from Anonymous, The Araignement & Burning of Margaret Ferne-seede. London: 1608

Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 24 24 17
Full Text Views 3 3 3
PDF Downloads 0 0 0
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0