THe Shepherd's Play
What is a "Mystery play"?
What is the image of "the lamb"? What does the
gift-giving suggest in the end of the play?
The Second Shepherds' Play has two
parts: the first climaxes in the discovery of the stolen sheep in the cradle; the second,
in the adoration of the Christ child in the manger. Discuss the
relationship between these two scenes.
Which of the following interpretations of Mak's character are best supported by the
Mak is the devil, an agent of evil who
appears in disguise and uses the arts of magic to deceive the good shepherds.
Mak is Falstaff, a merry rogue who plays
tricks on his unsuspecting fellows.
Mak represents unredeemed man, a sinner,
who promises to reform and, by the grace of the shepherds, escapes serious punishments.
Mak represents Joseph, husband of Mary and
foster parent of a miraculous child.
Mak is a criminal who represents a threat
to society and must be expelled.
How does the playwright use humor in The
Second Shepherds' Play?
The Second Shepherds' Play contains
many anachronistic references to events that had not occurred by the historical time of
Christ's nativity. Among these anachronisms are the numerous oaths using the names of
Christ and Mary, the allusions to England (which did not exist as a nation at the time of
Christ), and the references to the feudal system, which did not come into being until the
Middle Ages. Discuss the effect of these anachronisms in the play.
The Second Shepherds' Play opens with a series of three complaints delivered
by the shepherds and close with the shepherds singing together in celebration of Christ's
birth. Contrast these two scenes.
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