Mystery Plays and Morality Plays

(1) Social criticism in their complaints against the taxes and cruel gentry.

(2) Invoking the audience’s trans-temporal sympathy and understanding.

3. Daring parallelism in plot design: Mak’s trick in theft and Christ’s nativity.

(1) Stolen sheep passing for a son in the cradle vs. Christ as the Lamb in the manger.

(2) Charity shown by the shepherds vs. charity shown by Christ: the three shepherds in parallel with the three sages from the East.
(3) Secular sufferings replaced by the redemption promised by Christ.

4. Characterization of Mak: probably imported from popular farce and anticipating farcical braggarts in Elizabethan stage

VI. The nature and content of morality plays:

1. Composed individually, not in cycle.

2. Religious and moral in its explication of Christian doctrine of salvation: not through biblical stories, but through allegorical dramatization of mankind’s struggle between vices and virtues.
3. Involving no less broad humor than mystery plays: vices presented as clowns .

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