Short note on miracle and morality play.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The morality play has been defined as a bridge between the Biblical mystery plays, moral dramatizations of saints' lives in  the medieval period in the Roman Catholic Church and the secular plays of the Renaissance such as the plays of Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare.

Although it has much less popularity in modern times, the morality play is still around, especially during the Lenten season prior to Easter as an allegorical "everyman" goes on a spiritual journey to moral attributes such as faith, etc.  Also, the "everyman" who is influenced by others along his journey in other situations, eventually acquires integrity of character.  In other words, both the miracle play and the morality play have moral lessons attached to them, but the miracle, or mystery play usually dramatizes a saint's life whereas the morality play is more allegorical.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Morality and Miracles play are an outflow of Christianity in the medieval period, when the church forbade priests from acting (1210 through a papal order). When this took place, miracle and morality plays began to be put on. Morality play were usually from stories of the bible, which lent themselves to moral lessons and the miracles plays usually surrounded around the life a saint.

The heyday of these plays were probably around the 16th century during the reign of Elizabeth.  In the end, a common theme of the plays was the salvation of a person's soul. For more information, see the following link at the bottom of this post.

tanughosh | Student

Type of vernacular drama performed in the Middle Ages, presenting a real or fictitious account of the life, miracles, or martyrdom of a saint. The genre evolved from the liturgical dramas of the 10th–11th centuries, which were intended to enhance church calendar festivals. By the 13th century the plays were separated from church services and performed at public festivals by members of craft guilds and other amateur actors. Most miracle plays concerned either the Virgin Mary or St. Nicholas, both of whom had active cults in the Middle Ages. See alsomorality playmystery play.

In England the moralities dramatized the progress of the Christian's life from innocence to sin, and from sin to repentance and salvation. Among the most widely known of the fifteenth-century moralities are "The Castell of Perseverance," which features a battle between Virtues and Vices; "Mankind," which incorporates topical farce; and perhaps the most famous of all the English morality plays, "Everyman" (c. 1495), which concerns the Christian's experience of mortality and Judgment.