Medieval Drama - The History of Foreign Literature of the Middle Ages

Medieval drama

The city drama, preserving the biblical story, tells about the sacraments and miracles of the Holy Scripture, and therefore it is called the mystery or miracle. Miracles could be performed, however, not only directly Bible, but to happen to every sincere believer. One of the most famous miracles was written by the juggler Ryutbof in the XIII century. In United States he was translated by Alexander Blok under the title "Action on Theophile"; ( Le Miracle de Theophile ). Theophilus in Greek, who loved God. According to the play, he first loved, then gave himself over to the devil, but, thanks to the intercession of the Mother of God, again forgiven. In the history of the soul's mortgage to the devil, which arose many centuries before Faust, the way of turning the miracle into a tragedy is indicated. It's a genre, "which the medieval drama did not know. But the pendulum, which swung sharply in one direction, just as abruptly deviated into the other. Expelled from miracle household had somewhere to find shelter <... & gt; farce must be adjacent to the mystery, in principle, he must share with her place on one stage. "

Farce is a folk comedy that appeared in parallel with miracles and ordinances, in the interval of execution of these high plots (this is also in the title: from the word "minced", ie stuffing). If in miracles - the relationship of man with the sky, then in the farce - his relationship with his own kind, with a man. Relations in which there is a lot of cunning, stupidity, deception. One of the first, preserved to our time from the XIII century. farce, - "The boy and the blind": the blind "swindles" all, and he is deceived by the boy. The most famous farcical hero, Patlin lawyer, also becomes a victim of the shepherd's cunning. From that it is required in court only one thing - bleating, about what it would be asked, portraying stupidity. The case is won, the court is over, but when the lawyer asks to pay him, the shepherd continues to bleat and bleat runs away ( Lawyer Pierre Patlen ).

In the carnival action - a special attitude to stupidity: more often it is comical and gets what it deserves. However, where it comes to pseudo-learning, about playing trickery, stupidity can triumph in order to remind a person of the humility that is proper to him and of the sin of pride. In genres, even high ones - in miracles and mysteries, inherited from a liturgical drama into an inheritance of a city theater, the tone does not rise solemnly, for biblical events are interpreted as they are accessible to the common folk consciousness.

Indicative in this respect are the cycles of biblical plays, put on holidays in many cities of England, since the end of the XIII century. Early in the morning, special carts ( pageants) left the city squares, one part of which remained open - it was a stage, and the other closed - the room where the actors left and where the actors came from. The actors were not professionals. Miracles and mysteries were established by craft shops. Many texts and paintings have survived, for which department was fixed what plot. For example, in the famous Chester cycle (by city name): "The Fall of Lucifer" - tinsmiths; Creation of the World - upholstery; Flood - dyers; "Beating babies - goldsmiths of the master; Temptation - butchers ... Etc. The full cycle was sometimes several dozen episodes. The carts all day or, more precisely, all the days of the holiday, traveled around the city, and the shop played its episode before the changing crowd.

A butcher or dyer appears and announces to begin with whom he will play in front of the venerable public (Shakespeare excellently preserved the atmosphere of such a performance in the comedy "A Midsummer Night's Dream", where the Athenian craftsmen retire into the forest and rehearse.) The professional mockery of the still-preserved practice of guild views on the square). Worst of all, it was for someone whose role is capable of annoying or displeasing an expansive and trusting audience, so they stressed in every way that, let's say, I'm not Herod, but I'll show you it. This demonstration of the character, exclusion from him, determined the technique of performance, which was naively declamatory, which corresponded to the character of the verse, rhymed, unequal, somewhat incoherent and unskillful, similar to United States raeshnik. In the tone, thus, the intonation appeared trusting, simple and sincere. The Chester or York artisan narrated how he imagines the events constituting the subject of his faith: "I, God, that created heaven and earth, and everything from nothing, I see that my people are mired in thought and sin in sin." So begins the "The Flood".

I, God, that all the world have wrought,

Heaven and Earth, and all of nought,

I see my people, in deed and thought,

Are foully set in sin.

And then the text of the Bible is just as diligent and equally simple. An angry God decides to punish humanity by the flood, but remembers Noah's righteous man and announces his field to him. Grateful Noah and his sons are preparing the ark, but at the last moment - an unforeseen hitch: Noah's wife refuses to move from her place without her gossip gossips. The household detail materializes what all the time sounds in a verse, in a tone - the people's level of faith, trying to apply to the divine, to entrust to it their life what it is. The city carnival creates space for the experiment - a free attitude to everything frozen and fixed. The city does not fall out of the general hierarchy of medieval life, but increasingly insists on overcoming it in order to update all forms of life communication, including speech.

To a large extent, the innovation of the medieval drama, its peculiar democratism, consisted in the fact that the biblical heroes spoke with an accessible language, the language of everyday life. Remarkable in this respect is the dialogue between Eva and the Devil from the drama "Adam."


Je vis Adam, mais tros est fol.


Un peu est dur ...


I saw Adam, he was completely distraught.


A bit harsh ...

But you, Eve, you are a higher being, more subtle, which is so nice to see.


Tu es faiblette et tender chose

Et es plus fraiche que n'est rose;

Tu es plus blanche, que crista],

Que nief qui choit sur glace en val ...

Pour ce, fait bon se traire a toi;

Parier te veux.


You are tender, Eve, and fragile,

Fresh flower roses;

And the skin like crystal sparkles,

The radiance of the snow dwarfs ...

Therefore, you should not deny yourself anything;

Let's talk!

(Translated by N. Sychyova)

Circle of concepts and problems

Medieval theater: from the liturgical drama to the popular area activity, the democratization of the language, the people's level of faith.

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