Theatre: The Lady's Not for Burning

The Lady's Not for Burning is a 1948 play by Christopher Fry.

Set in the 15th century, the main characters are a man named Thomas and a woman named Jennet. Jennet is accused by superstitious townsfolk of having turned a man into a dog. The town authorities are skeptical, but inclined to go along with it because they will be able to confiscate her property. First, though, they have to get rid of Thomas, who showed up several minutes before the mob to confess to murdering a man — the same man Jennet is supposed to have transmogrified. Hilarity Ensues as Jennet refuses to confess and Thomas refuses to stop confessing.

The B-plot revolves around a young woman named Alizon, who is engaged to be married to the mayor's nephew but is the object of the attentions of several other men.

This play contains examples of:

  • Burn the Witch!: What Jennet is threatened with.
  • Death Seeker: Thomas, an ex-soldier, has given up on life after seeing much of the world's ugly side.
  • Elopement: Alizon's subplot ends with one, after she falls in love with Richard (who would be considered unsuitable by her parents even if she weren't already promised to someone else).
  • Purely Aesthetic Era: The setting of the play is deliberately non-specific; it's set more in the popular idea of The Olden Days When People Burned Witches than it is in an actual historical period. The stage direction setting the scene includes phrases like "as much 15th century as anything else".
  • Retraux: Written in the style of a Shakespearean comedy.