Under guise of dramatizing biblical history they often provide social satire/ criticism. Purpose: to provide religious instruction + entertainment Morality Plays (developed side by side with Mysteries) Composed individually not in cycles Performed by professional players ( precursors of Eliz. Theater) Religious purpose too but more overtly didactic than Mysteries: they try to teach a moral lesson through allegory. Through a personification of vices and virtues, they present the struggle of every Christian for the salvation of his soul. EVERYMAN (end of 15 th c) A fine example of the morality tradition
Everyman Must take a pilgrimage o Can bring short reckoning of what he did with his life o Accordingly you will go to heaven or hell Taken by surprise o He doesn’t expect to die with no warning or preparation o Asks to bring company Here starts his effort to find company to come with him All of them have the same reactions o Fellowship, kinship, etc. o Go to death alone Goes to goods Good deeds introduces him to three person’s of great mind o Discretion, strength, beauty and 5 wits o They along with good deeds will accompany him to death o However, one by one they abandon him The order by which they abandon him are important o Beauty first abandons him o Then strength o Next, discretion o Last thing that leaves are the 5 senses Eventually who follows Everyman? o Only good deeds o Line 869 – all earthly things are but vanity o Possessions, looks, friends, family – forsake man When you die what you can take with you for your reckoning are only good deeds Angels singing and doctor speaking is the end Moral lesson that every Christian learns through this play o A good Christian must always be ready to give a reckoning and be ready to die o Should be ready for he judgment day, account for his life o Friends and relatives cannot help in the face of death Norton Intro 531-536 Marlow + DF scene I and III 1106-7, 1127
10/10 THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY 1485 – 1603 1485 Accession of Henry VII inaugurates Tudor Dynasty (end of War of the Roses) 1558 – 1603 Elizabeth I reigns : Elizabethan era A great age for Literature: the century of the English Renaissance Political stability + prosperity + increase of literacy (Caxton, printing) Renaissance Cultural +intellectual movement (Italy 15 th c) Rebirth of letters + arts stimulated by recovery and study of ancient Greek + Latin texts and development of new aesthetic norms based on them New view of the world: Homocentric (# theocentric in Middle Ages) Development of new social, political, economic ideas that changed the world Humanism Fundamental current of the Renaissance a more worldly + secular philosophy, anthropocentric, it sought to dignify man Education: letterae humaniores Man was the measure of all things.