Anne Pedersdotter Play Analysis Essay
1590: Anne Pedersdotter, Norwegian witch
April 7th, 2011Headsman
The most famous witchcraft execution in Norwegian history took place on this date in 1590, with the burning of Anne Pedersdotter.
Pedersdotter (English Wikipedia entry | Norwegian) was the wife of Lutheran minister Absalon Pedersson Beyer (Norwegian link), a reformist theologian in Bergen.
Anne may have become a target of her prominent husband’s enemies; she was first implicated for witchcraft in 1575 when her husband’s uncle dropped dead, clearing the way for Absalon to take his place as bishop.
While she repelled that round of allegations, Absalon himself soon followed his kin into the great hereafter, leaving his widow a bit shorter on political pull. She lived on as a near-hermit, forever shadowed by the intimation of infernal intercourse.
In 1590, Anne’s neighbors, and maid, accused her again; her fate was sealed when a forbidding storm broke during her trial. (So says Witch Hunts in the Western World)
Anne Pedersdotter’s execution has become a literary staple in Norway, with a (highly dramatized) play (available free online here) itself re-stylized into other notable cultural products — such as Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer‘s 1943 Vredens Dag (Day of Wrath) …
… and two different operas, Edvard Fliflet Braein‘s Anne Pedersdotter, in Norwegian; and, Ottorino Respighi‘s more conventionally Italian-language La Fiamma:
On this day..
Entry Filed under: 16th Century,Arts and Literature,Burned,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Execution,Famous,History,Norway,Public Executions,Witchcraft,Women
Tags: 1590, 1590s, anne pedersdotter, april 7, cinema, opera, theater
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The main character of the novel – a lonely, unfortunate but very kind-hearted, emotional and imaginative orphan Anne – at the end of the novel grew up to be a well-bred and well-educated lady, a teacher in Avonlea. The answer to the question whether such an ending is predictable or not, in my opinion, is hiding in the analysis of Anne’s character. Let us have a closer study of it.
On the one hand, the lack of social skills and absence of normal family life experience, present the girl as such a failure at the beginning of the book that it is difficult to imagine that she will finally turn into a graceful and properly behaving lady. The list of Anne’s mishaps is quite long and only her wit and ambition and desire to be good help her cope gradually.
Furthermore, exactly her ambition and determination, which can be proven by Anne’s rivalry with Gilbert Blythe, make the ending of the novel less predictable. Anne, as a bright student, is rewarded a scholarship to a college. So, it is easy to imagine her as a famous writer or actress after graduation, living in a big city, enjoying her active social life.
On the other hand, from the very beginning of the novel the author pictures Anne as a kind, loving, grateful and caring girl. These features make her decision to stay in Avonlea with ill Marilla natural and the prediction of the ending easier.
All in all, Anne’s “multiple, complex and not easy to reconcile” (Robinson, 2014, p. 212) character leaves the reader trying to guess about further development and the ending of the novel. Like “Anne is learning to … balance the different parts of her personality” (Robinson, 2014, p. 212), the readers are balancing between the predictability and non-predictability of the events and the outcome of the book.
Montgomery L.M. (n.d.) Ann of Green Gables. Retrieved from http://www.planetebook.com/ebooks/Anne-of-Green-Gables.pdf
Robinson L. (2014). Pruned Down and Branched Out. Embracing Contradiction in Ann of Green Gables The L.M. Montgomery Reader: Volume Two: A Critical Heritage. Retrieved from https://books.google.com.ua/