Date of Award

Spring 4-28-2016

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


English, Linguistics, and Communication

First Advisor

Mathur, Maya

Major or Concentration



This essay looks at the portrayal of capitalism in the anonymously written Renaissance play Arden of Faversham. As early modern England shifted to a capitalist economy, the nefarious means that almost all of the major characters employ in order to take advantage of opportunities for social mobility criticizes the greed and brutality that emerging capitalist values encouraged. While many critics criticize Arden for his greed as a landlord, he does not conform to the literary stereotype of the period for greedy landlords, allowing a broader reading of the play. All the deaths at the end of the play, both the landlord and the commoners responsible for his murder, criticize a variety of avaricious motives and the economic system that incites each of them to pursue their ambitions.