9 Feb. The Shepherd’s Play

We are going to play the third podcast in Folger Podcast series and then think about the
  • 1.How has the understanding of the history of The Second Shepherd’s play changed over time (ex:maybe a stand alone play and not a Corpus Christi cycle play)? 
  • 2. What are examples of the context in which The Second Shepherd’s play was initially played? Do those details change your understanding of the play (stuff Walker made-up)?
  • 3. Since scholars don’t know anything about the performance history of the play, what does that force them to do? i.e. what are some instances of playing/acting in the play and what do those instances suggest about how late Medievals/early, early moderns perceived playing/performing?

The Second Shepherd’s Play, Discussion

  • 1.How do themes of animal, gender, and labor translate from Greek comedy & tragedy into the Medieval mystery tradition?
  • 2. What are some of the topics of complaints that open the play? Why open the play this way?
  • 3. What does Mak say he say in his dream and how does his fake dream correspond to the trick that he and Gill play on the Shepherds?
  • 4.Where do Gill and Mak hide their future dinner? How does that symbolically connect to the Christmas story? Explain how all these jokes about eating the child connect with the Christian ritual of eucharist or communion.
  • 5. After talking about burning Gill alive or cutting off Mak’s head, what punishment does the group settle on for Mak? Does the play raise issues about judgement similar to Wasps?
  • 6. How does the Second Shepherd’s Play balance the sacred and the profane?

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