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The active involvement of the spectator is not through emotion so much as it is in the discovery of the meanings of characters and the significance of the configurations in which they are arranged.
It is not known, however, how these evolved into the particular form of the morality play.
Few morality plays have survived, and only remained sufficiently well regarded in later times to be dignified with performance.
However, Good-Deeds is so infirm because of Everyman’s prior misdirection that a prior step is necessary: Everyman is entrusted to Knowledge for guidance.
The implication is that knowledge of the institutional Church and its remedies is necessary for the successful living of the good life.
The mystery play is a dramatic re-creation of a story from the Bible, its aim being the elucidation of the revelation therein.
The morality play, by contrast, is an allegorical form, peopled by personified abstractions such as Beauty, Justice, and Fortitude and types such as Everyman, Priest, and King.It shares the key features of allegorical prose and verse narratives.It is intended to be understood on two or more levels and the characters are abstractions with label names like all the characters in Everyman.Instead, Fellowship, Kindred, and Goods are summary abstractions, which are not particular sins in themselves but rather examples of the distractions that divert people away from positive direction toward God and salvation.Thus Everyman’s failures are represented not by a static series of vices but by the vital enticements that took too much of his attention.As a result, there can be little psychological insight and little diverse movement that invigorate earlier and later drama.Like all forms of allegory, the method is essentially intellectual.The conception is a Dantescan analysis of sin as a turning away from God.In the theology of the play, salvation obviously cannot come by faith alone, since it is imperative that Everyman be accompanied to judgment by Good-Deeds.Here the subject matter is admonitory, particularly concerning death.As Albert Baugh pointed out, it is difficult to discover precise sources for the subject matter or the dramatic method.