Read on 03/02/18
After reading Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I wanted to re-read all of the other books for my Shakespeare, Jonson and Co. module, especially since I last read most of them in summer, which was a while ago now. The Shoemaker’s Holiday is my first Dekker text and I really enjoyed it, up until the last scene (I’ll get to that…). The play is fast-paced and witty, whilst also being sombre, discussing issues and attitudes towards class. The moments of disguise, although somewhat implausible, looking past it are comic and witty. I found the characters were developed well, and I didn’t find that any characters were overtly overlooked.
However, the moment that made my jaw drop in awe and disappointment was the seemingly lazy attempt to conclude the play. This is one scene I can’t wait to discuss with my peers and tutor, who will probably shed light on Dekker’s choosing, but I just couldn’t believe how easily the fathers’ minds were swayed at the idea of Lacy and Rose being married. Throughout the entire play, the father’s express their utter contempt for the idea and for them to just change their minds so instantly because of a change of status! It wasn’t half anticlimactic after anticipating the final scene’s action. Perhaps the knighting of Lacy symbolises much more about class than I realise – perhaps it shows the sheer amount of judgment the fathers place upon the working class Shoemakers and just because of a title it satisfies them? I’m not sure. Even so, to me, it comes off as theatrically anticlimactic.
Overall I really liked this play, as usual with this English Lit module, these ‘comedies’ are more than just comedy plays. Looking forward to reading more of Dekker’s work, any suggestions would be great!