Study Guide

The Second Shepherds' Play

by Wakefield Master

The Second Shepherds' Play Characters

Characters Discussed (Great Characters in Literature)

Coll

Coll, the first shepherd. He complains to his companions of the cold winter, poverty, and the oppression of husbandmen by the gentry. It is his kindly thought of leaving a present for Mak’s child that leads to the discovery of the sheep.

Gyb

Gyb, the second shepherd, who is plagued by a shrewish wife as well as by the weather and his masters. He urges the others on to Bethlehem to worship the Christ Child after they have heard the song of the angels.

Daw

Daw, the third shepherd, a boy. He is suspicious of Mak from the moment he appears, and he first recognizes Gill’s new baby as the lost sheep.

Mak

Mak, a rogue and a well-known sheep stealer who attempts to gull the shepherds and nearly succeeds in convincing them that their ram is his child. He finally wins a tossing in a blanket for his trouble.

Gill

Gill, his sharp-tongued wife. She complains incessantly of his failings as husband and provider, but she is happy to aid in his deception of the shepherds and suggests that he dress the sheep in swaddling clothes while she pretends to be lying in childbed.

An angel

An angel, who sings to the shepherds of the birth of Christ.

Mary

Mary, the mother of Christ. She greets the shepherds and accepts their simple gifts for her child.