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October 05, 2005

Hubris of the (Middle) Ages

Anonymous, York Corpus Christi Plays -- Drama as Literature (EL 250)

Cherub: Since Lucifer, our leader, is fallen and marred,In Hell to be burned for his prideful intent;

Just like the greeks, this anonymous medieval writer uses hubris and hamartia in his story. "The Fall of Lucifer" reminds the audience of the gravity of having a fatal flaw like pride. I thought it interesting that the good angels accepted Lucifer's punishment as a proper means to teach him a lesson. Wouldn't "good angels" by advocates for forgiveness?

Soldier 1: And let him fall in all at once.
For surely, that pain has no peer!

In "The Crucifixion," the audience sees how time and time again, the soldiers speak casually about how it's good for Jesus to suffer. Are they the equivalent to "good angels?" I realize that the comparison of Jesus' crucifiers and angels is a radical one, but in the context of both these plays they (the soldiers and angels) each condone the method of punisment used to "teach" the "wrong-doers" a lesson.

Posted by DavidDenninger at October 5, 2005 04:19 PM


I agree. Another similarity between the good angels and the soldiers is that they follow orders, serve authority, and do what they're told. They both agree whole-heartedly with their superiors:

Ah, Lord, praised be your name who to us this light lent
Since Lucifer, our leader, is fallen and marred,
In Hell to be burned for his prideful intent;
For your justice repays a fitting reward
For all that is done in the world.
Through the grace of your merciful might
The cause I can see in plain sight-
The reason to Hell he is hurled."

Sir knights! Take heed, quickly draw nigh!
We must not delay this deed to do.
You know yourselves, as well as I,
How lords and leaders of our law
Have judged, as one, this fool should die.

Posted by: Kayla Sawyer at October 6, 2005 02:54 PM

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