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As "the best surviving example of medieval drama that is known as the morality play",...

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prettyellise | (Level 2) Honors

Posted October 6, 2012 at 6:44 PM via web

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As "the best surviving example of medieval drama that is known as the morality play", Everyman illustrates for us the ways medieval drama was employed didactically. Discuss the conventions of morality plays and explain how Everyman uses allegory to dramatically convey and teach a moral lesson

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted October 6, 2012 at 7:25 PM (Answer #1)

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In the space between liturgical plays/ Corpus Christi plays, before Elizabethan drama and the revival of classical plays in the universities, a certain kind of public performance brought moral lessons to the illiterate public, in the form of allegories acted out on crude stationary stages (as opposed to pageant plays) (some scholars feel that liturgical plays became so popular that they were moved outside the church to the church steps).  These pieces, lightly scripted and performed by deacons and other lower church staff, not by professionals, were wide-spread throughout Europe (Everyman was originally Dutch), but very few (perhaps a handful, most fragmented) of the actual scripts have survived.  Everyman has served as the “typical” allegory or morality (not to be confused with “moral interludes”, which were humorous.)  The allegory of Man “going” to his grave is acted out by the cast moving across the stage, Everman being beckoned by a character called “death”, and losing his companions, relatives (“kith and kin”), and then his physical attributes—looks, health, strength, etc.  When his Good Deeds jump into the grave to accompany him, the audience sees the visible acting out of the moral teaching:  “Only your Good Deeds will go with you to the grave.”   

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