View Full Version : Has anybody else read this Play or similar plays?

11-30-2006, 10:10 AM
Very few of these plays are still performed and i myself have only come across three of these Medieval Morality Plays; Everyman, Nice Wanton, and Mankind, which i played the roll of Titivillus in college. They are fun and Amusing plays to both read and perform, but my question is this, has anyone else read any of these plays or similar plays? If yes, what was it called and what did you think of them? If no, read them. you'll be suprised.:D

03-26-2007, 04:20 PM

03-26-2007, 07:43 PM
I read Everyman in undergrad. They are called Morality Plays.


morality play

form of medieval drama that developed in the late 14th cent. and flourished through the 16th cent. The characters in the morality were personifications of good and evil usually involved in a struggle for a manís soul. The form was generally static, but it contributed significantly to the secularization of European drama. The first known moralities were called the Paternoster plays. The greatest English morality is Everyman. See miracle play.

And from Wiki:

Morality plays are a type of theatrical allegory in which the protagonist is met by personifications of various moral attributes who try to prompt him to choose a Godly life over one of evil. The plays were most popular in Europe during the 15th and 16th century; ; having grown out of the religiously based mystery plays of the Middle Ages, they represented a shift towards a more secular base for European theatre. Examples of morality plays include the French Condemnation des banquets by Nicolas de Chesnaye and the English The Castle of Perseverance, the earliest surviving complete morality play in English, and Everyman, sometimes considered the best of the morality plays. During the 16th century morality plays often dealt with secular topics, including forms of knowledge (in Nature and The Nature of the Four Elements) questions of good government (Magnificence by John Skelton and Respublica by Nicholas Udall), education (Wit and Science by John Redford, and the two other "wit" plays that followed, The Marriage of Wit and Science and Wit and Wisdom), and sectarian controversies, chiefly in the plays of John Bale. Throughout his career Shakespeare made references to morality characters and tropes, suggesting that the form was still alive for his audiences, at least in memory, long beyond the period of its textual flowering.


Everyman is generally agreed to be a translation of a 921 line long Flemish morality play called Elckerlijc written by Peter van Diest, first printed in 1495, and a later version in 1518. There has been considerable controversy surrounding the relationship between these two plays, with some literary historians arguing for the priority of the Dutch, and others the English version. Most of the arguments rely on the superiority of one play or another in quality, and thus the assumption goes, the better quality play must be the original, since most translations are never as good as the original.[1] A pro-Dutch argument is that the near-total absence of humor in the play is atypical of an English morality drama. E.R. Tigg's found many of Elckerlijc rhymes were copied and the lines were translated pretty closely, strongly suggesting Everyman is the derivative translation.[2] However, it is also perfectly credible that an English translator should have added a rhyming tag to each of a pair of words that rhyme in Dutch but not in English.[1] Although there is no irrefutable factual evidence, based on the balance of evidence, it is generally agreed the Dutch is the original.

The two earliest complete copies of Everyman were printed in London by John Scot in the 1520s. The Dutch schoolmaster and playwright Georgius Macropedius (1487 Ė 1558) had his Latin version published in 1539 in Antwerp and was a huge success, his play was printed and performed in Danish, Dutch, German, Latin, and Swedish. Numerous performances mainly in 16th and 17th century Germany are known.

Everyman, an allegorical figure of the every man, is summoned by the allegorical figure of death to journey to God to account for the life he has been lent. He discovers that his friends Fellowship, Kindred, Cousin, Goods, and Knowledge will not go with him. It is Good Deeds (or Virtue), whom he previously neglected, who finally supports him and who offers to justify him before the throne of God. Lines from this play provided the inspiration for the name of the popular literature series Everyman's Library.

I've only read Everyman, which is supposed to be the best of the morality plays. I found it interesting, more as a understanding of the evolution of drama rather than for the play itself. But a quick read.

03-26-2007, 08:49 PM
I read Everyman last semester in world lit. I remember I liked it, but the portion of it I was assigned I wasn't able to finish. But, I will pull out my book and get back to you on this one.

03-27-2007, 06:33 AM
I read Everyman a few years ago after i did Mankind in college. I also really enjoyed it. There is something about these plays that are extremely entertaining and it is very understandable why they were so popular back in the medieval period. And seeing as many people couldnt read back then it was a great way to teach morality and in some way religion to the common folk. Out of the three that i know Nice/good Wonton is the least comical one, and deals a lot with sickness and death.