The Shoemaker's Holiday: Play - Summary and Analysis

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Summary
      The Shoemaker's Holiday comedy (1599) by Thomas Dekker, who was a man of the people and was in sympathy with the craftsmen and the rag-tag people of the streets of London. It is a dramatised version of Deloney's novel Simon Eyre, dealing with the story of Simon Eyre, a glorious shoe-maker of the reign of Henry VI, who became Lord Mayor of London. He built the leather market in Leadenhall and founded a holiday for the apprentices.

The Shoemaker's Holiday
The Shoemaker's Holiday

      A love-story forms the main plot of the comedy. Lacy, nephew of the Earl of Lincoln, loves Rose, the daughter or the Lord Mayor of London. Both the Earl and the mayor oppose this match from class prejudice. Lacy is sent to France in command of a company of men. Lacy deserts the regiment he commands, and disguised as a Flemish shoemaker takes service with Simon Eyre, who supplies the family of the Lord Mayor with shoes. He ends, of course, by running away with Rose and the two are married, in spite of the efforts of the Earl and Lord Mayor to prevent it. He is pardoned by the king, who brings about a reconcilement between the rival families.

Critical Analysis
      The drama gives a picture of the contemporary London life and manners. Simon Eyre, the shoemaker is the most entertaining character in the drama. He is hearty and jovial, always in good humour, fond of eating and drinking. He always treats his men as brothers and drinks and jokes with them. Even the change of his fortune does not affect his character. The life in his workshop, where the workmen are Scamps, quarrelsome, drunken is painted with a good deal of vigour and ironic humour. "A charming rose-coloured vein of feeling runs through the play. It is perhaps more genuinely and virtuously merry than anything else in Renascence drama. Romantic and realistic elements are nowhere so easily and prettily blended." (Legouis).

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