Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Comparing Piety in The Wakefield Mystery Plays, The Book of Margery Kem

Comparing Notions of Piety in The Wakefield Mystery Plays, The Book of Margery Kempe, and Le Morte DArthurThe monastic lifestyle that Launcelot and his knights adopt after their conversion is one that Margery Kempe might approve of -- doing penance, singing mass, fasting, and remaining abstinent. (MdA, 525) But Launcelots change of heart is not motivated by the emotions that move Kempe, nor is his attitude towards paragon the same as can be found in The Book of Margery Kempe and The Wakefield Mystery Plays. In the Wakefield symbolises, God wins piousness through outright threats. He appears to his followers in visions, as he does in Kempe, but never as a benevolent or square presence. Kempe receives her only comfort in life through Gods constant reassurances of her holiness in the face of the condemnation of her peers in the Creation play, it is God who casts out raptus and Eve, just as Kempe is cast out of traveling party after traveling party. The fear of being similarly puni shed keeps other Wakefield characters in line. Noah begins his play with a speech detailing the mistakes of the those who have angered the Lord First on Earth and then in hell . . . but to those no ravish befell/who trusted in his truth. And God responds Vengeance I will take,/ On earth for sins sake,/My grimness thus will wake/Both great and small. (WP, 91) God promises that All shall perish less and more that so spurned my plan. Fa... ...dA, 523) Works Cited and ConsultedKempe, Margery. The Book of Margery Kempe. Ed. Sanford Meech and Hope and Emily Allen. London Oxford UP, Early English Text Society 212, 1940 rpt. 1961. Lawton, David. Voice, Authority, and vow in The Book of Margery Kempe. Margery Kempe A Book of Essays. Ed. Sandra J. McEntire. New York Garland, 1992. 93-116. Malory, Sir Thomas. Works. Ed. Eugene Vinaver. London Oxford University Press, 1966.Mann, Jill. The Narrative of Distance, the Distance of Narrative in Malorys Morte DArthur. The William Matthews Lecture s 1991 delivered at Birkbeck College, London. Rose, Martial, ed. and trans. The Wakefield Mystery Plays. New York Norton, 1961.

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