Mystery Plays the Origin of English Drama the Predecessors of the Drama

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The Predecessors of the Drama

  • Introduction
  • Mystery plays,
  • Miracle plays,
  • Morality plays and
  • The Interludes

Mystery Plays – 11th and 12th Centuries

The rebirth of drama – in Church and its liturgy-developed as part of ceremonial religious feasts such as Easter

Mystery Plays

Liturgical Dramas

  • A way to teach Bible to the illiterate commoners,
  • didactic purpose,
  • under the Church control
Liturgical Dramas

Mystery Plays

Mystery = religious truth, secret.

  • Based on scenes and stories from the Bible.
  • Latin replaced by the vernacular
  • Venue: Outside the Cathedral - Town square-Pageants.

Control Church to Guilds Actors: Clergy to others.

Mystery Plays

At this context it is important to remember this Edict of 1210 which forbids clergy from participating any of these dramatic forms and this is also a moment when we witness a growing secularisation of the drama.

Sum up


1. The mystery plays deal with

A. The life deed of saints

B. Biblical themes

C. Heaven and Hell

D. Moral Values

2. What was the purpose of Mystery Plays acted in church?

A. To entertain the people

B. To control the people

C. To dictate the bible

D. To teach Latin language

3. What is Liturgical drama?

A. Relating stories from the Bible and of the saints

B. Romantic stories

C. Dramas in Latin language

D. Historical dramas

5. Who are the pageants?

A public entertainment consisting of a procession of people in elaborate, colourful costumes, or an outdoor performance of a historical scene.

6. The word mystery means

A. Secret and religious truth

B. Bible stories

C. Entertainment

D. Lives of saints.

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